Skip to main content

Southern Africa food and climate crisis

 Nelia Binda Bvuma,  Manicaland Province of Zimbabwe

Donate now to our Emergencies Action Fund*

The climate crisis is causing immense suffering across Southern Africa, where late rains, the aftermath of two major cyclones, droughts and flooding are putting millions of lives at risk. 
More than nine million people are facing severe food shortages after the worst drought the region has seen in 35 years. Shockingly this number is expected to increase to a staggering 45 million over the next few months.

How ActionAid is responding

Women and girls are on the frontline of the climate crisis and are most at risk in emergencies. When emergencies happen, they are often the first responders, taking risks and playing critical roles in the survival of families and communities.

ActionAid and our local partners are on the ground in Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, distributing life-saving items including food and water purification tablets, plus critical items for longer term health, such as safe sanitary products and hygiene kits. We are also supporting women and girls to create their own safe spaces where they feel physically and emotionally protected.

But the situation is worsening rapidly, and funding is urgently needed to protect more people’s lives and their livelihoods. 

In the longer term, ActionAid is building communities’ resilience to climate disasters by training women and young people to take leadership roles during emergencies and hold decision-makers to account. We are also supporting smallholders to adopt climate-resilient agroecological farming techniques. 

*Money raised through the Emergencies Action Fund helps us to respond urgently to humanitarian crises such the Southern Africa food and climate crisis.

News and stories 

We’re sharing news, stories, images and videos from the communities impacted by the food and climate crisis across Southern Africa. 

Emma (l) and Agnes (r) walk together are the food distribution point
Emma and Agnes walk together at a food distribution point
Takaitei Bote/ActionAid

16 January 

Women's leadership in food aid distribution, Zimbabwe.

Read the full story here


A woman holding dried plant roots
Severe food insecurity is forcing families to forage for wild fruits and the roots of a grass called zita, pictured.
Fredrick Ntoka/ActionAid Zambia

10 January 

Urgent food supplies are needed to reach families facing hunger crisis in Zambia.

Read the full story here


People at a food distribution centre
ActionAid delivers food aid in Makoni, Zimbabwe
Cynthia Matonhodze/ActionAid

8 January

ActionAid delivers food assistance in Makoni, Zimbabwe

Read the full story here


A farmer in a drought-affected field
A drought-affected farm in Malawi

20 December

As rich countries shirk responsibility for the climate crisis, families in Malawi are boiling mangoes to survive.

Read the full story here


A farmer in a dusty farm in Zambia
Families across Zambia are struggling because of the drought

2 December

Families are surviving on one meal a day in drought-hit Zambia.

Read the full story here


Portrait of a woman farmer taken in Mozambique
A farmer in Mozambique

2 December

Severe drought hits Mozambique months after devastating Cyclone Idai.

Read the full story here