UN highlights natural disasters, humanitarian needs in Africa

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-29 03:39:07|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations has highlighted weather-related natural disasters in several African countries, from flooding in Somalia and South Sudan to droughts in Zambia.

Seasonal rains have started early in many parts of Somalia and have led to flooding in the states of Hirshabelle, Jubaland and the South West, Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said here on Monday.

Over 180,000 people were estimated to have been displaced. Farmland, infrastructure and roads were destroyed, and livelihoods disrupted in some of the worst-hit areas, said Haq.

South Sudan is also affected by severe seasonal flooding that has devastated large areas of the country since July, he told a daily press briefing.

An estimated 900,000 people are affected, including internally displaced people, refugees and their host communities. The rains are likely to continue for another four to six weeks and will put more people at risk.

The heavy rains have hit areas that were already facing high humanitarian needs. Considerable damage to crops, arable land and livestock are anticipated, he warned.

Zambia, on the other hand, is suffering from the lack of rain, said Haq.

The UN and humanitarian partners have launched a seven-month humanitarian response plan to address rising humanitarian needs triggered by the poorest rainfall season since 1981 in the southern part of the country, he said.

More than 2.4 million people, out of a total population of some 17 million, are expected to be severely food insecure during the lean season, which goes from October 2019 to March 2020, with at least 430,000 people at emergency levels.

The United Nations and international nongovernmental organizations are seeking 89.5 million U.S. dollars to provide immediate humanitarian assistance and early recovery support for 2.3 million people for seven months. The main portion of this plan is for food assistance, said Haq.