AFDB and Zambia sign US$ 500,000 flood relief

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Lusaka, 1 Aug. 2008 -- The African Development Bank President, Donald Kaberuka, on Friday in Lusaka signed an agreement for a grant of US$ 500,000 to help provide relief to victims of recent flash floods in Zambia.

Mr. Kaberuka, who arrived in the Zambian capital on Thursday, said the grant was to help ease the plight of those affected by the flooding in parts of Zambia in 2007.

Signing on behalf of the Zambian government, the country's Minister of Finance, Ng'andu Magande, said Zambia was one of few countries in Southern Africa that often suffered both from flash floods and drought in a single season.

This, he said, created reversals in progress made in the agricultural sector.

He said the funds would be managed by Zambia's Disaster Management Agency and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Mr. Magande said the WFP had been chosen as a partner because it purchased food relief within the country, thereby supporting its agriculture.

The 2007 floods affected mainly the Western, North-Western, Eastern, Central and Northern Provinces of Zambia, damaging important infrastructure, houses, crops and grazing land. In some areas, crop yields dropped by as much as 70 percent from the previous year.

Drastic reductions in the harvest of the main staple, maize, were reported in at least fourteen districts. This situation was worsened by more flooding in some of the most affected areas during the 2007-2008 season.

The AfDB assistance will be used for general food distribution to chronically vulnerable victims of the floods. These include the old, the disabled and child-headed households. Some 440,866 persons in 14 districts have been identified for support.

President Donald Kaberuka also held talks on Friday with Zambia's Vice President Rupiah Banda. They discussed increased cooperation between the AfDB and Zambia, particulalry in areas including infrastructure development, energy, agriculture, water and sanitation.

AfDB's active portfolio in Zambia currently stands at US$ 220 million and mainly comprises agriculture, water and sanitation, health, education and mutli-sector budget support.