News / Africa

    Drought Dries South African Maize Silos

    Women use buckets and cloth to collect stagnant rain water from an unfinished sewerage treatment tank, now used as a well, to do their laundry in Senekal, South Africa where taps and water sources have run dry, Jan. 7, 2016.
    Women use buckets and cloth to collect stagnant rain water from an unfinished sewerage treatment tank, now used as a well, to do their laundry in Senekal, South Africa where taps and water sources have run dry, Jan. 7, 2016.

    South Africa is quickly running out of maize as the El Nino drought deepens. Like many other countries in southern Africa, South Africa is experiencing its worst drought in decades. As the current crop withers due to extreme heat and little rainfall, food prices are rising and may be out of reach for millions.

    A devastating drought caused by adverse effects of El Nino has left South Africa exposed to a serious food security threat. El Nino is a global climate phenomenon characterized by the warming of ocean surface temperatures in equatorial parts of the Pacific and recurs every few years.

    Shows the almost dried-up local dam in Senekal, South Africa where taps and water sources have run dry. Senekal, a small town in South Africa’s rural Free State province, is one of four regions declared disaster areas, Jan. 7, 2016.
    Shows the almost dried-up local dam in Senekal, South Africa where taps and water sources have run dry. Senekal, a small town in South Africa’s rural Free State province, is one of four regions declared disaster areas, Jan. 7, 2016.

    The country’s water reservoirs are running low and it is left with a four-month stock of its staple food, maize.

    Resources short, funding challenges

    South Africa’s minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, said the situation is critical and requires urgent importation of maize. "By the end of May we may be short of white and yellow maize. We have to make sure therefore that by that time we have enough maize in stock," he said.

    Experts warn that over a billion dollars will be required to avert catastrophic hunger for both humans and animals.
     

    A woman arrives to collect stagnant rain water from an unfinished sewerage treatment tank, now used as a well, to do her laundry in Senekal, South Africa where taps and water sources have run dry, Jan. 7, 2016.
    A woman arrives to collect stagnant rain water from an unfinished sewerage treatment tank, now used as a well, to do her laundry in Senekal, South Africa where taps and water sources have run dry, Jan. 7, 2016.

    The World Food Program said Monday that an estimated 14 million people are facing hunger in southern Africa, while programs intended to assist people face critical funding challenges.

    Botswana said it is experiencing its worst drought in five years, with both water and food stocks quickly running out.
     
    Bleak future

    One Botswana rural farmer, Mothoemang Maase said the future is gloom and doom. "Life is very difficult. Not being able to plow, no food for our cattle, no grass,” he explained, “so we are really having a problem."

    Zimbabwe has not been spared either. Most crops have wilted because of heat and long dry spells. Thousands of livestock have also succumbed to the drought. With the government already failing to pay civil servants due to lack of funds, many fear it is a matter of time before they, too, face the same fate as their livestock.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Thuso
    January 19, 2016 1:36 AM
    Farmers are the key to agriculture and regional food security. Without farmers, people in countries experiencing droughts, Zimbabwe included, face severe hardships apart from impacts e.g animal losses, exports.The repercussions are indeed costly, being felt by many people inside and outside of SA. throughout the year, which can be prolonged.

    by: Elias
    January 18, 2016 11:12 AM
    There was a medieval pre planning for hunger in Africa and the whole world came to know Egypt very well. Remember 7year of harvest and 7year of draught? Southern Africa New in advance the elnino looming but didn't plan for such phenomena and now it is too late to react except for asking our intellectual president to produce miracles.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora