Last Updated: Friday, March 4, 2016

Severe drought condition in Swaziland prompts national emergency


Swaziland Government has declared a national emergency for the current drought situation, primarily caused by the cyclical dry weather phenomenon known as El Nino.

The Prime Minister, Dr B. Sibusiso Dlamini, said that "the negative impact of the drought has led to seriously diminished water availability for crop production, human consumption and livestock sustenance" in a statement at the launch of the national emergency response, mitigation and adaptation plan and declaration of national emergency at the cabinet offices in February 2016.

He said: "At the present time, we count the loss of around 40,000 head of cattle, and have to report a serious food and water vulnerability currently experienced by approximately 300,000 of our people, which is around 25% of the population. There has been a huge negative impact on business, especially agricultural business, with one of our biggest employers having to reduce irrigation down to 20% of the optimum level. The drought has also led to hydropower generation being suspended – a measure that is giving rise to load shedding."

The National Disaster Management Agency has already been established, with a management and implementation team recruited to deal with this, and any other, similarly disastrous challenges that may befall country over the coming years.