JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)on Thursday said a record 45 million people in the 16-nation Southern African Development Community are gravely food insecure following repeated drought, widespread flooding and economic disarray.

"This hunger crisis is on a scale we've not seen before and the evidence shows it's going to get worse," the WFP's Regional Director for Southern Africa, Lola Castro, said in a statement.

"The annual cyclone season has begun and we simply cannot afford a repeat of the devastation caused by last year's unprecedented storms."

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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