The UN’s World Food Programme has said that millions of people in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe face imminent hunger.
These countries were hit by a devastating drought in 2019 and have been ravaged this year by a locust infestation as well.
The Coronavirus pandemic has also worsened the economic plights of many in the Southern Africa region who were restricted to contain coronavirus.
International institutions say there is a growing food crisis in the region with up to 50 million people at risk.
There have been calls from some agencies for increased procurement of food to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.
In January this even before the coronavirus pandemic, escalating hunger needs in sub-Saharan Africa dominated a World Food Programme (WFP) analysis of global hunger hotspots in the first half of 2020.
There were millions of people the WFP said required life-saving food assistance in Zimbabwe, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central Sahel region in the coming months.
The sheer scale and complexity of the challenges in Africa and other regions will stretch the resources and capacity of WFP and other agencies to the limit, the analysis at the time said.
The analysis said ramping up the humanitarian response will again require the generous support of donor governments to fund the assistance required to save lives and support development.
“WFP is fighting big and complex humanitarian battles on several fronts at the start of 2020,” said David Beasley, Executive Director of WFP.
He added that “In some countries, we are seeing conflict and instability combine with climate extremes to force people from their homes, farms and places of work.
In others, climate shocks are occurring alongside economic collapse and leaving millions on the brink of destitution and hunger.”