• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 1,185,000 Total population [?]
  • 615,000 People affected [?]
  • 183,000 People in Need [?]



Persistent drought, floods, and the impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods are intensifying the food security crisis in Eswatini. Between July–September 2021, 22% of the assessed population (262,000 people) were facing severe acute food insecurity, with 240,000 people in Crisis (IPC phase 3) and 22,000 in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) conditions. Cropping activities and the harvest season were affected by dry spells between November–December 2020 and Cyclone Eloise, which resulted in above-average rainfall and floods in January 2021. The most affected regions are Lubombo and Shiselweni, where about 25–35% of the assessed population are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4), requiring urgent humanitarian assistance.?

Food insecurity was worsened by social unrest and pro-democracy protests that escalated on 28 June and continued for a month and then renewed again in mid-October. During the social unrest, the delivery of food aid and goods was hindered by looting of NGOs’ assets, internet blackouts, and fuel shortages.?

The food insecurity situation is expected to worsen between December 2021 and March 2022 as a result of COVID-19 containment measures, high prices of basic food items, and high unemployment rate. Projections indicate that 336,000 people (29% of the population analysed) are likely to face high levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or worse). About 50,000 people are projected to be facing Emergency food insecurity levels (IPC Phase 4).?

Latest Developments


About 183,000 people are facing Crisis and worse food insecurity levels (IPC Phase 3) over July-September including 14,000 people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). An additional 76,000 people will likely fall into Crisis and Emergency levels by the end of March 2023, largely due to  increasing food prices and high unemployment.?



Food: Food insecurity levels are the highest in lowland areas, which are affected by drought and desertification. The most vulnerable groups in need of food assistance are women, children, young girls, and people living with HIV/AIDS.?

WASH: In the driest areas of Eswatini (such as Somntongo subdistrict), people struggle to access clean drinking water. They have to travel a long distance to reach wells, which have polluted and stagnant water.?

Health: Safe and quality healthcare is needed for pregnant women and newborn children. Close to 30 women die during childbirth every year, and 500 deaths are recorded among newborn children every year. The health system has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to the already high needs for treating HIV/AIDS patients.?

Education: To access food, people resort to negative coping mechanisms, including withdrawing children from schools. Children’s access to education has also been affected by the social unrest in June–July. Up to 14 schools were damaged and looted. As a result of violence, school closures already in place as part of COVID-19 measures were extended. On 16 October, indefinite closure of schools was ordered after the re-escalation of protests.?