Nearly 60,000 people in Swaziland (eSwatini) face starvation or death without immediate action, Save The Children reported.
They are among more than 347,000 people in the kingdom who face acute food shortage and need urgent humanitarian assistance. This includes about 180,000 children.
The population of Swaziland is about 1.2 million people.
Save The Children said ‘nearly 60,000 people [are] experiencing emergency levels of hunger, meaning that without immediate action, they could face starvation or even death’.
In a statement, Save The Children said, Swaziland had experienced a rapid deterioration in food availability over past months due to coronavirus (COVID-19)-related job losses, high food prices, and erratic rainfall leading to a poor harvest at the end of 2020.
It reported, ‘The latest figures show that 31 percent of the population is now suffering from the food crisis, a markedly worse situation than the last hunger assessment in 2019, when 18 percent of the population was experiencing severe hunger.’
Save the Children has launched an emergency programme with the Swazi National Disaster Management Agency and plans to scale up its response to ensure critical food packages and nutritional supplements reach children and their families.
The agency is urgently calling on donors to release funds to support the emergency response and stave off a hunger crisis.
Save the Children’s Executive Director in eSwatini, Dumisani Mnisi, said, ‘The situation in eSwatini has been rapidly deteriorating and it’s finally reached a tipping point.’
Mnisi added, ‘We are calling on the international community for support as we rally together to face this challenge.’