World Food Programme warns of deeper hunger across southern Africa

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Poor rains and crop
infestations in southern Africa are threatening deeper hunger
across the region, with millions of people, particularly
children, at risk, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said on
Friday.

“Given that the region has barely emerged from three years
of very damaging El Nino-induced drought, this is a particularly
cruel blow,” Brian Bogart, WFP’s regional programme advisor,
said in a statement.

Large swathes of land across the region, from South Africa

to Zambia, has been hit by high temperatures and low rainfall,
while an invasive crop-eating army fallworm outbreak has shrunk
cereal crop production for 2018, experts said.

WFP said there were fears for another rise in the number of
people in the region needing emergency food and nutrition
assistance, which had fallen to 26 million people last year from
a peak of 40 million people during the 2014-2016 El Nino crisis.

On Thursday an alert was issued by a regional food and
nutrition expert group urging action on the possible impact of a
“prolonged dry spell” would have on the agricultural season.

“Moisture deficits, high temperatures and a persistence of
Fall Army Worm infestation is likely to result in a below
average crop and livestock production,” said the report cited by
WFP.

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