A farmer takes a break in Swaziland © FAO/Rodger Bosch

El Nino is Causing a Massive Food Emergency in a Region that Can’t Handle that Kind of Stress

Southern Africa is poised for catastrophe. And it’s mostly because of El Nino.

This year’s historically intense El Nino caused the region’s worst drought in 35 years. Harvests have been decimated and livelihoods imperiled. The area was already prone to high levels of food insecurity, but the sheer intensity of this year’s massive El Nino has sparked a humanitarian emergency not experienced in decades.

On the line with me to discuss the food crisis in Southern Africa are two officials from the US Agency for International Development, USAID: Dave Harden, the Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance and and Dina Esposito a deputy assistant administrator and Food for Peace director.

The two officials discuss some of the root causes of the food crisis and its implications across a number of sectors. We discuss what the US and international response is looking like and why this crisis differs so substantially from a devastating famine that the region experienced 35 years ago.

This is a shamefully under-reported story in western media, so I was glad to be able to shine a spotlight on it.

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