Tuesday, February 16, 2021

‘Urgent action needed to save lives’ as hunger grips Swaziland

Nearly one in three of the Swaziland (eSwatini) population require ‘urgent humanitarian assistance’ as they experience ‘high levels of acute food insecurity’, according to an analysis just released.


This amounts to about 347,000 people.


Urgent action is required to save lives and livelihoods of populations, according to the IPC Acute Food Insecurity Analysis covering January to September 2021. It said the problem was made worse by measures to control coronavirus (COVID-19), high commodity prices and erratic rainfall.


It said the loss of jobs due to the pandemic led to a loss and/or reduction of income, which meant people could not afford to buy food.


It added, ‘The unusually high commodity prices further restricted food access and exacerbated the already compromised food availability in the poorest households, further heightening their poverty levels.


In the Manzini urban area which includes Swaziland’s main commercial city about 20 percent of the population 26,336 people) were estimated to be facing high levels of acute food insecurity


The Manzini urban area mainly consists of people dependent on employment, therefore, the impact of COVID-19 on households in this region has had a great impact on sources of income and livelihoods,’ the report stated.


The closure of a number of industries as a result of lockdown measures to try and curb the spread of the virus resulted in job losses in the region. 


The region hosts the majority of industrial area in the country, and loss of employment has had a bigger impact on the people’s livelihoods. High food prices and an increase in other basic commodities have put a strain on households with lost or reduced employment, pushing more into vulnerability to acute food insecurity.


It said the increase in the number of deaths ‘will impact more households, especially with the deaths of breadwinners and spending on health during this period.


It said there was some hope in the future and the number facing high acute food insecurity across Swaziland will likely fall to 209,000 after crops are harvested.


See also

One in three people in Swaziland in urgent need of food, Deputy PM reports



No let up on hunger in Swaziland – World Food Programme


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