A months-long drought affecting most of southern Africa has led to serious food shortages for millions of people.
The United Nations estimates that more than 11 million people are currently facing crisis levels of food insecurity. The World Food Program says southern Africa has received normal rainfall in just one of the past five growing seasons.
Among the hardest hit areas is South Africa's Northern Cape province. There, many farmers are struggling to keep their families and animals alive as they lose money and debt grows.
Sheep farmer Louis van der Merwe told The Associated Press he had lost more than 400 sheep and 450 springboks over the past two years. He said the current drought is the worst he has seen during his 45 years of farming.
Some of his animals died of hunger. Others were harvested earlier than normal to reduce the number of animals he had to feed. Van der Merwe got emotional while explaining that he now accepts donations of animal feed so he can keep the rest of his animals alive.
他的一些动物死于饥饿。 其他人比正常季节早收获，以减少他不得不喂养的动物数量。 范德默尔激动地说，他现在接受动物饲料的捐赠，这样他就可以使其余的动物活着。
"If we didn't have hope, we would not be here anymore," he said. "We have to have hope and faith. There are a couple of times when we have felt it is not worth it."
One farmers' organization estimates that South Africa's Northern Cape province will need at least $28 million over the next three months to assist 15,500 affected farms. So far, South Africa's government has promised $2 million.
Gertruida Buffel lives in the Northern Cape town of Vosburg. She told the AP that things have gotten so bad that she now shares her family's food with their animals.
Gertruida Buffel居住在北开普省的沃斯堡镇。 她告诉美联社，事情变得如此糟糕，以至于她现在和他们的动物分享家人的食物。
For two weeks, she fed two small lambs a mixture of dried corn and water after their mother starved to death. But she said one lamb ended up dying, likely because the corn mixture was not part of the lambs' usual diet.
Small children are hungry, too. At Vosburg's only school, Delta Primary School, large groups of children line up every morning for what becomes both breakfast and lunch. The meal usually includes corn meal, vegetables and soup.
The school food program began before the drought. But teachers say it has become increasingly important for the town's struggling families. "It's very hard for the parents to actually feed their children at home," one teacher said.
小孩子也饿了。 在沃斯堡唯一的三角洲小学，每天早上都有大批儿童排队吃早餐和午餐。 该餐通常包括玉米粉、蔬菜和汤。
学校的粮食计划是在干旱之前开始的。 但是老师们说，这对于该镇苦苦挣扎的家庭来说变得越来越重要。 一位老师说：“父母很难在家中实际喂养孩子。”
In Kimberley, the capital of Northern Cape, government officials give out money from the $2-million disaster aid program. The job can be difficult because some farmers live in places that are not easy to get to.
Farmers Jan Louw and Martiens Tieties are among those hoping to receive government-provided animal feed. But they are not expecting any assistance until January. Until then, they plan to keep sharing feed with other farmers to keep their animals alive.
希望获得政府提供的动物饲料的农民包括扬·卢和马丁·蒂蒂。 但他们希望直到一月份都不被提供任何帮助。 在此之前，他们计划继续与其他农民共享饲料，以保证牲畜的生命。
Words in This Story：
drought- a long period of time during which there is very little or no rain
province– areas that some countries are divided into
faith – n.complete trust or confidence in someone or something