Extreme weather events occur regularly in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region. They are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change.
These natural hazards result in economic and political challenges, crop pests and diseases, and conflicts. This undermines living conditions, food security and the livelihoods of millions of people in the region.
Almost 30 million people in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region are expected to experience or are already experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity in 2022/2023.
What are the needs?
The Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region is prone to both climate-induced disasters (e.g., droughts and cyclones) and human-induced hazards caused by armed conflict and violence.
These hazards represent a major risk for exposed populations resulting in:
- the loss of lives and internal displacement
- destruction of livelihood assets
- damage to major infrastructure hampering the delivery of assistance in some severely affected areas.
During the 2022/2023 cyclonic season, the region was hit by cyclones Cheneso and Freddy, with around 2.7 million people affected.
Russia’s war of aggression to Ukraine will continue to have a direct impact on food security and the inflation of fuel prices in the region.
The humanitarian situation in Northern Mozambique has further deteriorated throughout 2023 due to armed conflict and insecurity with 2 million people requiring urgent humanitarian assistance.
In the Grand Sud and Grand Sud-Est regions of Madagascar, some 3.86 million people are facing acute food insecurity and around 700,000 children are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition.
In Zimbabwe, at least 4.25 million people (over 25% of the population) are facing food insecurity in 2023/24. They need humanitarian assistance due to a protracted deteriorating socio-economic situation, further compounded by recurrent climatic shocks.
How are we helping?
In 2023, the EU made an initial allocation of €50 million to support humanitarian actions. The most vulnerable populations in Mozambique, Madagascar and Zimbabwe are the main recipients of emergency aid.
This new funding is reinforcing the humanitarian response provided to the region in 2022, amounting to over €67 million. This funding included €16.5 million to address food insecurity and increasing logistics costs in support of aid delivery.
In addition, in 2023, the EU allocated €4.2 million in humanitarian aid for Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique, following Tropical Storm Freddy. Part of this funding reinforced additional transport means by the UN’s Humanitarian Air Service to ensure workers and supplies reached those in need.
With rising needs, the EU allocated additional funding for various emergencies, including €1.75 million mobilised to respond to cholera, mainly in Malawi.
Furthermore, the region benefits from €7 million allocated under the IFRC Programmatic Partnership including anticipatory action/disaster preparedness.
EU humanitarian funding in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region provides emergency relief response such as:
- food/nutrition assistance
- protection services
- access to health care
- education in emergencies
- access to drinkable water, sanitation, and hygiene
The EU also supports actions to ensure education continuation in humanitarian crises. EU humanitarian funding ensures safe learning spaces and provides adequate education programmes for children in areas affected by violence and displacement.
Attention is increasingly given to disaster preparedness in schools through promoting safe learning facilities, training teachers in early warning, and teaching children how to stay safe. Having emergency stocks on the ground also facilitates and speeds up the response to rapid-onset natural hazards.
We also prioritise, to the extent possible, the swift provision of aid through emergency cash transfers to vulnerable people affected by disasters. This saves people from having to sell their possessions when food runs out.
Preparedness and prompt action can reduce the impact of natural hazards and help prevent loss of life, livelihoods and property. The EU supports actions that improve the capacity of communities as well as local and national disaster management authorities to prepare for and respond to disasters. Reinforcing the logistics capacities is also an integral part of preparedness and response.
Several EU-funded projects use technology and innovative approaches. For example, in response to the 2021/2022 cyclones in Mozambique and Malawi, drones were used to map high-risk areas. In addition, mobile text messages warned communities of impending hazards and enabled communities to contact their disaster management authorities.
Last updated: 18/08/2023
Facts & figures
About 30 million people are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity
Over 1.5 million people currently internally displaced across the region, with more than 830,000peopleinternally displaced by violence in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique
Over 400,000refugees in the region, mainly from DRC and Burundi
More than 2.7 million people affected by cyclones and floods in 2023
EU humanitarian funding:
€64.2 million in 2023
€446.15 million since 2014