The Australian government has announced that it will continue to provide food aid in Southern African countries that have been severely affected by adverse weather conditions. The region has been suffering from El Nino conditions caused by climate change.
This has left 32 million people in the region without access to adequate food supplies including 2.7 million children who are severely malnourished.
The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Julie Bishop MP, announced on 2 September 2016 that Australia will provide AUD10 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to deliver food and nutritional support to 11.9 million drought-affected people in countries in southern Africa. This additional funding brings Australia’s total contribution to AUD46 million for countries affected by El Niño.
“Some of the most affected countries in the southern African region will directly benefit from the Australian Government’s provision of additional funding to the WFP, including Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe” read the statement.
Zimbabwe has been affected by severe drought forcing the country to import most of its maize requirements from neighboring Zambia. Failure by Zimbabwean farmers to utilise the land has also contributed to the current food security situation.
Australia’s response has focused on funding lifesaving food, nutritional and livelihoods assistance for countries most affected in the Pacific and South East Asia as well as the Horn of Africa.
Through its aid program, the Australian Government is also investing in improving preparedness and resilience to climate variability in helping communities prepare for future periods of drought.