Reuters AlertNet – MOZAMBIQUE: Coping mechanisms wear thin as the drought drags on

Swaziland / World Mission

“MAPUTO, 20 May (IRIN) – Traditional coping mechanisms are nearing exhaustion in Mozambique as drought-affected communities struggle with dwindling food production and the impact of HIV/AIDS on the agricultural labour force.

Preliminary figures estimate that more than 230,000 households in the southern and central regions of the country will face food shortages this season.

The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has pointed out that although the situation was cause for concern, the areas most affected were considered drought-prone, and therefore reports of food shortages are not ‘extraordinary’.

‘We can’t say that they [drought-affected communities] are unprepared. The population has traditionally developed alternative coping mechanisms, including shifting from cereal production to livestock, using forestry resources for charcoal production and, in the arid southern provinces, migrating to South Africa to work in the mines,’ FAO country representative, Peter Vandor, told IRIN.

Vandor warned that in recent years, economic hardships combined with rising HIV infection rates had dealt a serious blow to traditional coping mechanisms.”

Mozambique is a neighbor to Swaziland. The drought is effecting both countries. As bad as it is in Mozambique, it’s even worse in Swaziland given that Swaziland’s coping mechanisms are even more brittle.

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