Staff Writer

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) on Friday said the locust outbreaks may threaten ongoing maturing crops while the projected below average rains will further increase dryness in many southern African countries.

FEWSNET latest Global Weather Hazards Summary shows that much of the coast of Madagascar remains abnormally dry. Also drought persists in southern parts of the country.

It said below-average rainfall since the start of the rainy season has led to abnormal dryness and drought in parts of Angola and Namibia.

As from 8 February to 9 March 2021, FEWSNET said heavy rainfall was concentrated over central and eastern Zambia, Malawi, northern Mozambique, and western Madagascar. Also heavy downpours continued over eastern Zambia, Malawi, northern Mozambique, and western Madagascar.

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“Very little rainfall was registered over a wide area of southern Africa from southern Angola, Namibia, Botswana, much of South Africa, southwestern Zambia, southern Zimbabwe, to southern Mozambique.

Below average rainfall has remained over Angola, northwestern Namibia, southern South Africa, and eastern Madagascar,” it said.

“Below average rainfall has led to above average dryness in parts of southern South Africa.”

FEWSNET said that African Migratory Locust (AML) swarms have increased over the hotspots of southeastern Angola, northeastern Namibia, northwestern and northeastern Botswana, southern and western Zambia.

“Brown locust outbreaks were also reported to revisit the Central and Upper Karoo Regions of South Africa. The locust outbreaks have already destroyed crops over some areas and could threaten ongoing maturing crops.”

Heavy rainfall is forecasted to persist through central Angola, eastern Zambia, Malawi, and northern Mozambique, below average rainfall is expected elsewhere.

“The forecasted below average rains could further increase dryness in many areas.”-HARARE

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