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Currency Blight Seen Deepening Southern Africa Drought Peril

  • UN aid agency says 14 million people in region face hunger
  • Falling currencies could make food imports unaffordable
Updated on

Preventing a humanitarian disaster as drought grips southern Africa is made harder by plunging currencies driving up the cost of importing food, the World Food Programme said.

“Everyone is working to try and address a situation that is evolving very quickly to avoid what could be a disaster from what is now a crisis,” Ertharin Cousin, executive director at the aid organization, said in an interview in Magoye, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Lusaka, Zambia’s capital. Fourteen million people in the region face hunger as an El Nino weather system causes parched earth and withered crops, according to the WFP, a United Nations agency.