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Malawi follows Zambia in declaring drought a national disaster

Filed under: Breaking News |
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The southern African nation of Malawi has declared a state of disaster over drought in 23 of its 28 districts and the president says it urgently needs more than $200 million in humanitarian assistance, less than a month after neighboring Zambia also appealed for help.

Malawi is the latest country in the region to have its food supply crippled by a severe dry spell that’s been linked to the El Niño weather phenomenon.

A third country, Zimbabwe, has also seen much of its crops decimated and is considering following suit, underlining concerns raised by the U.N. World Food Program late last year that numerous nations in southern Africa were on the brink of a hunger crisis because of the impact of El Niño.

Last month was the driest February in 40 years for Zambia and Zimbabwe, according to the WFP’s seasonal monitor, while Malawi, Mozambique and parts of Angola had “severe rainfall deficits.”

Millions in southern Africa rely on the food they grow to survive. Corn or maize the region’s staple food, has been badly affected by the drought.

El Niño is a natural, recurring weather phenomenon involving the warming of the sea surface in parts of the Pacific Ocean.

It has impacts on global weather, including causing below-average rainfall in southern Africa. Some scientists say that climate change is making El Niños stronger and their impacts more extreme.

– ABC News

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