London — The US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) has warned that southern Mozambique and parts of the centre of the country are facing a food crisis due to December's abnormally high temperatures and late rains.
In its country report, FEWS NET pointed out that the agricultural season began forty days late, with just 53 per cent of planned planting in the south taking place in December.
Humanitarian aid in January reached 167,000 people taking many areas in the southern province of Gaza out of the crisis category. However, FEWS NET stated that the assistance is insufficient to change the crisis classification in other southern and central semi-arid areas.
The report also highlighted the plight of people living in the central provinces of Zambezia, Sofala, and Manica where tropical cyclone Desmond caused flooding on 21 January. FEWS NET noted that "the storm caused localised flooding, damaged infrastructure, and affected over 1,300 hectares of crops".
In addition, about 6,000 people were displaced from some peri-urban areas of Beira and Dondo cities in Sofala and in parts of Chinde district in Zambezia. Mozambique's relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), has created transit centres to provide shelter, food, and water and sanitation.
Much of southern Mozambique (in particular, the interior of Gaza and Inhambane provinces) is naturally semi-arid. However, this year the weather pattern has been disrupted by the El Nino phenomenon. El Nino is an anomalous warming of the surface waters in parts of the Pacific, which has a major impact on weather patterns worldwide. In southern Africa, it frequently results in severe droughts.