Southern Africa faces "silent" food crisis: UN officialListen /
Southern African governments and their partners are being urged to work together to strengthen disaster preparedness and tackle food insecurity.
The call has come from Catherin Bragg, the deputy United Nations humanitarian chief, who ended a five-day visit to Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe on Friday.
Charles Appel reports.
The UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator says that Southern Africa is facing what she calls "a silent food insecurity emergency" particularly in Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
Ms Bragg says that about a third of the population of Lesotho does not have enough food to eat or sell.
In Zimbabwe, she adds, 1.6 million people are expected to be food insecure and many families are selling their own livestock to cope with what she calls a "dire situation".
Catherine Bragg blames recurrent disasters for the weakening of food production in Southern Africa.
According to the UN humanitarian agency (OCHA), more than 5.5 million across the region face food shortages as a result of recurrent natural disasters like droughts and floods as well as rising food prices.
Charles Appel, United Nations