WFP sounds alarm over El Niño impact on southern Africa

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Wildlife. UN Photo/E Darroch

Poor harvests brought on by prolonged dry spells are causing an estimated 14 million people in southern Africa to go hungry.

That's according to the World Food Programme (WFP) which says numbers could "rise significantly" in the coming months due to the ongoing El Niño global weather event.

Dianne Penn reports.

The World Food Programme (WFP) says El Niño has led to worsening drought in southern Africa and is already affecting this year's crops.

It describes the outlook as "alarming," with little or no rainfall in many areas and the window for planting cereals closing fast.

Malawi, Madagascar and Zimbabwe are the worst-affected countries.

WFP chief Ertharin Cousin is particularly concerned about smallholder farmers who are responsible for most agricultural production in the region.

The UN agency is working to scale up food and cash-based assistance programmes.

It is also working with governments and regional partners to secure food supplies and protect livelihoods.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 45"

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