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Russia-Ukraine Crisis Slowing Emergence Response In Southern Africa

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war is having negative effects on the emergency response effort in the Southern African region, CARE International has said.

The effects of the war have been felt across the globe have been more severe in the global south as the cyclones and adverse weather patterns continue to negatively affect the region.

In a statement, CRE International the war is causing a shortage of relief supplies hiked fuel costs which have seen an increase in prices of basic communities, which are now beyond the reach of many who were slowly recovering from the loss of livelihoods and floods

“This (the war) has impacted response efforts and raises the worry of how the people will recover and resume normal living as things become more expensive,” CARE International said.

It added; “Hiked wheat and fuel costs are not only causing an increase in the cost of living but also putting the jobs of hundreds, in several sectors, at risk. “

In Zambia and Zimbabwe, where the economies were already fragile, fuel prices have increased by 13 per cent and seven per cent respectively in Countries.

The organisation said that on March 11th, Cyclone Gombe, a Category Three storm struck Nampula province in Mozambique which has so far killed 61 people while over 450,000 people were displaced.

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As humanitarian efforts are ramping up, the challenge of available supplies is hitting hard.

Christine Beasley, CARE Mozambique Country Director said, “Commonly used relief supplies including tarps and tents are difficult to find

“Many pre-positioned relief supplies from donors are being channelled to Ukraine and Poland to meet the massive needs of refugees, and available supplies are running low for emergencies elsewhere, including in Mozambique. For emergency response to be credible, has to be fast.

“With the current shortages of pre-positioned supplies, our only option may be to order direct from the factories in China and this will certainly not be fast enough to meet the immediate needs of people displaced by Cyclone Gombe”

Mozambique has also seen a rise in fuel prices, the most recent by 12 per cent, that the Mozambican government has attributed to the conflict in Ukraine.

In Malawi, where 70 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, jobs are at risk as a result of the conflict.

Amos Zaindi, CARE Malawi Country Director said, “Slightly over 20 per cent of the Country’s wheat dependency is on imports from Russia.

“Due to interruptions in the supply chain, this has led to a 40 per cent increase in the production cost of bread and wheat products. Dailies have reported that since the conflict started, there has been an increase of 50 per cent in cooking oil prices.

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“These costs have been passed on to consumers. Those who work in the sectors that depend on these imports are wary of their jobs. These hikes and potential job losses are of particular concern to CARE as it risks more people sliding into poverty.”

Displacement due to extreme weather events and a worsening fragile humanitarian situation needs attention and support to ensure at-risk communities are supported as they recover.

Chikondi Chabvata, CARE International Southern Africa Advocacy Advisor said, “In a situation where vulnerabilities are already high due to the adverse impacts of climate change, having conflicts that impact the global food supply chains leaves those who are at risk are left worse off than they were.

“We have already seen an increase in the prices of fuel, wheat, cooking oil, and rice.

“In a region highly susceptible to the effects of climate change, conflicts such as the one in Ukraine take attention away from these climate-induced disasters. This means worse off conditions, and no one gets to see it and appreciate the human suffering that conflicts create even outside their boundaries of war.”

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