Information and commentary in support of human rights in Swaziland
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Malnutrition in Swaziland set to rise to hit quarter of total population
in Swaziland (eSwatini) is set to rise so that nearly a quarter of the total
population will need help getting food, a United Nations’ agency reported.
and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said 300,000 people will be affected.
The total population of Swaziland is about 1.3 million.
said the present coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis would increase the numbers
in danger, but before the pandemic an estimated 232,000 people needed help.
In a report just
published FAO said, ‘According to the latest report of the Vulnerability
Assessment Committee (VAC), in 2019, an estimated 232,000 people, about 25
percent of the rural population, were estimated to be food insecure and in
need of humanitarian assistance during the October 2019-March 2020 period.
figure is almost double the level compared to the previous year, when an
estimated 122,000 people faced acute food insecurity. Most of the food
insecure population in 2019/20 was concentrated in eastern Lubombo and
southern Shiselweni regions, where cereal production shortfalls occurred in
further ahead, despite an expected average harvest in 2020 that would
stabilize food security conditions in the next months, the risks posed by
the COVID-19 pandemic could cause an increase in the prevalence of
effects of the pandemic are expected to be primarily channeled through a
reduction in economic activities and associated income losses, while
potential breakdowns in food supply chains is an additional concern for
food security across the country. A recent analysis by the Government and
humanitarian partners indicated that almost 300,000 people are at risk of
acute food security due to the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.’
Wednesday (22 April 2020) the Swazi Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini pledged his government would
feed 300,000 people in 63,000 households across all four regions
of the kingdom in the next two weeks. He has not publicly stated how he
intends to do this. Swaziland is broke and the money to purchase food is
has relied on international aid to feed the most vulnerable of the
population for many years. The World Food Programme (WFP) is one of the
major agencies tackling the problem. In 2019 it tried to raise US$17.4
million from donors but reported it had fallen more
than US$9 million short in its fundraising. It collected only 47
percent of the money it hoped to raise.
In a May
2019 report WFP said ‘an estimated 22 percent of the population has been
food insecure in the past ten years’.
‘Chronic malnutrition is a main concern in eSwatini: stunting affects 26
percent of children under the age of five.’
reported, ‘Seventy percent of the rural population live below the national
poverty line and 25 percent are extremely poor. Eswatini has a very high
HIV prevalence, affecting 26 percent of the population between the ages of
15-49. Life expectancy is 49 years, and 45 percent of children are orphaned
Food Program falls short in fundraising as hunger grips Swaziland and King
spends lavishly on himself