Zambia is currently experiencing a prolonged drought largely as a result of below-average precipitation from the seasonal rains (November-March). The significant rainfall deficit, especially noticeable in Southern and Western provinces, has resulted in decreased agricultural production. Consequently, households are sharply depleting food stocks and are increasingly dependent on market purchases, driving up the prices of staple foods such as maize.
Previous droughts have been increasing people’s vulnerabilities. 192,000 people in Southern province have been estimated to face Crisis and 54,000 Emergency levels, marking respectively 10% and 3% of the province's population according to the latest IPC estimation (from October 2018 to March 2019). Due to aforementioned factors, the projected number of people in need of food assistance is likely to reach the estimations or even exceed them, despite the end of the main harvest season (around June) when usually food security levels improve.
Low water levels in major rivers and groundwater may further impact people’s access to clean drinking water. Hydro generated electricity has already been declining due to low water levels in dams.