Southern Africa

Remittance rip-offs

LONDON, 22 April 2014 (IRIN) - All over the world migrant workers are sending money home to their families. The money pays hospital bills and school fees, buys land, builds houses and sets up small businesses. The cash goes from the US back to Mexico, from the Gulf back to India, from the UK back to Somalia, and from South Africa back to Malawi, Zimbabwe and the rest of southern Africa. full report

Mourning versus survival in Swaziland

MBABANE, 21 April 2014 (IRIN) - A traditional two-year mourning period for widows during which women are expected to be confined and not work, is meeting growing resistance in Swaziland. full report

New IRIN film: The Zebu and the Zama

NAIROBI, 14 April 2014 (IRIN) - In the Zones Rouges of southern Madagascar, economic opportunities are scarce, as is any presence of the state: the police are particularly absent from most villages. full report

Kariba Dam collapse fears and disaster preparedness in Zimbabwe

HARARE, 9 April 2014 (IRIN) - Could fears of the imminent collapse of the more than five-decade-old Kariba Dam on the Zambezi river between Zimbabwe and Zambia spur Zimbabwe into more effective disaster preparedness? full report

Zimbabwe's demining neglected

HARARE, 25 March 2014 (IRIN) - In Zimbabwe's sparsely populated northeastern district of Mukumbura, the cattle are trained to move in single file in search of water and pastures, a measure to protect them from anti-personnel landmines. full report

Fresh waves of Zimbabwean migrants flee worsening economy

HARARE/LOUIS TRICHARDT, 21 March 2014 (IRIN) - A deepening economic crisis in Zimbabwe is worsening already high levels of unemployment and driving a fresh wave of labour migrations into neighbouring countries, say economists. full report

Unravelling Zimbabwe's "food crisis"

ZVISHAVANE, 4 March 2014 (IRIN) - Is there a food crisis in Zimbabwe? The UN says 2.2 million people will be in need of food assistance until the end of March, based on a 2013 government-led joint survey by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC). But the government is now questioning those findings. full report

Fleeing fighting in Mozambique to uncertain future in Malawi

BLANTYRE, 4 March 2014 (IRIN) - Since mid-January, an estimated 2,000 people have fled fighting between the government and former rebels in Mozambique, spilling into neighbouring Malawi, but they are yet to receive assistance as the Malawian government and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) remain in disagreement about their status as asylum seekers. full report

Swaziland's dry spell upends sunny outlook on food

MBABANE, 3 March 2014 (IRIN) - A prolonged dry spell with scorching temperatures has undone an optimistic outlook for Swaziland’s harvest of maize, the staple. Instead, experts are now predicting another round of scarcity and hand-outs in the perennially food-insecure country. full report

All weather is local - getting the forecasting right for farmers

ZVISHAVANE/MASVINGO/CHIVI, 25 February 2014 (IRIN) - With the lean season reaching its peak, many villages in Zimbabwe have already exhausted their staple grain reserves. The most recent Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) report projects that at least two million people, out of a population of 13 million, will be without sufficient food until the end of March. But had they had access to high-quality rain forecasts for their areas, communities could have better prepared for the period between harvests, experts say. full report