Swaziland: livelihoods threatened as El Nino drought digs in

Source: World Vision - Africa Regional Office - Tue, 8 Dec 2015 10:00 AM
Author: World Vision/Geoffrey K. Denye
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Around 29 million people in the Southern Africa region are affected by a prolonged drought, U.N. data shows. The situation is likely to get worse as this year's strong El Nino weather pattern peaks. Rural livelihoods are already affected as people are unable to plant crops, cattle are dying, and water sources are drying out.

The Swaziland Vulnerability Assessment Committee results show that 201,000 people of the country's population of 1.2 million face food and livelihoods insecurity between May 2015 and April 2016.

A veterinary official in Sithobela Swaziland, Aaron Dlamini, described some of the impacts of the drought: "We lost 118 cows in
September, 407 died in October and a staggering 700 perished in November and the situation is worsening."

Children who have been getting lunch at school will go without that meal during the long December holidays. "World Vision in partnership with Esicojeni Foundation has distributed food to child-headed families in Sithobela, Swaziland but we still need more help to reach children and families in the wider community," said Philippe Guiton who is coordinating World Vision's response to drought in Southern Africa.

  • The great Usutu river, that is fed by most of the other rivers in Swaziland, is drying up too and affecting livelihoods of families who depend on its waters for irrigation.

  • Cattle are dying in hundreds as a result of the prolonged drought in the southeastern parts of Swaziland.

  • Even boreholes are drying out as a result of the prolonged drought. Thabsile Hlongwane (65) in Somtongo, Swaziland says 75 households are going without water as a result of this borehole failing.

  • Trying to save the life of a weak and dying cow in a village in Swaziland, where many animals have succumbed to the effects of this year's prolonged drought.

  • This irrigation system in Somtongo in Swaziland cannot pump water to the fields any more. One of the water points has dried up as a result of the prolonged dry spell.

  • Yamkelo Mvimbela, 18, a student in Form 1, says his crops failed due to drought and he now requires assistance. He recently received some maize, beans and cooking oil from World Vision in partnership with Esicojeni Foundation.

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