EC Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said the aid package would help “fragile rural communities” and other vulnerable families in Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Zambia and Zimbabwe to tackle hunger.
“Many poor households in drought-affected areas in southern African countries are struggling to have enough food due to crop failure, reduced access to water and, in some places, unaffordable food prices in markets,” Lenarčič said.
The funding comes as millions of people are said to be facing starvation in parts of the Southern African Development Community on the back of one of the harshest drought in decades.
According to Lenarčič, more than €16.8 million or 74 percent of the aid package would go towards boosting food and nutrition assistance for Zimbabwe, as well as improving access to basic health care, clean water and providing protection to vulnerable people in the impoverished country.
Some 7.7 million people, about half of the Zimbabwe's population, are at the risk of severe hunger, placing the country among the states facing one of the worst food crises in the world.
Lenarčič said the remainder of the aid package would be channelled towards providing food assistance and nutrition support in Eswatini, Madagascar, Lesotho and Zambia.
The southern Africa and Indian Ocean region as a whole is prone to natural disasters and oscillates between droughts and floods that are destroying harvests and further weakening fragile communities.