An estimated 12 million people in South Africa, or 20% of the country’s population, are facing severe food insecurity since last September due to the pandemic, drought and high food prices.

“The situation has worsened since the lean season started in September 2020,” a European Civil Protection And Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) statement said.

“The deteriorating food security is mainly driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation measures as well as high food prices, drought and economic decline, it said, adding: “Slowdown in the national economy resulted in mass job losses over the last two quarters of 2020.”

According to the ECHO, South Africa has witnessed an estimated 30% or more increase in prices of certain food commodities

“Income loss is a major threat to households’ food access in urban areas, where there is dependence on purchases for all food needs,” it added.

South Africa has confirmed more than 1.5 million COVID-19 cases, the highest number in Africa.

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