Zambia

Lutheran World Relief responding to floods in Zambia

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News and Press Release
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Baltimore, April 12, 2007 - Lutheran World Relief (LWR) today announced it will be providing assistance to families affected by recent flooding in Zambia.

This year's rainy season has been characterized by record rainfall, leading to flooding in a number of districts. Rains began in December 2006 and are expected to continue throughout April. According to the United Nations, over 1.4 million people have already been affected by flooding.

Rising waters have collapsed houses and school buildings and washed away infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Most fields have flooded, causing widespread crop damage, which threatens to leave affected districts with scarce food in the coming months.

Routine health services are not reaching the affected areas because the floods have made these areas inaccessible. Outbreaks of malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition are expected as drinking water becomes contaminated and water borne diseases spread.

LWR is responding to the situation through Action by Churches Together (ACT), a global alliance of churches and related agencies that assists in disaster response worldwide. Financial support is being provided to partner organizations in Zambia for both immediate relief and long-term recovery.

The response will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will concentrate on providing safe drinking water, preventing the spread of malaria in the affected areas through the distribution of mosquito nets, and distributing clothing and soap.

The second phase will focus on distributing food to communities whose fields are now submerged in water, cleaning and fixing wells, and helping to mitigate the effects of crop loss with agricultural assistance.

Throughout the relief effort, community leaders will be trained in emergency and disaster management. In addition, support groups will be formed to help people cope with the emotional effects of the disaster and find constructive ways to address local needs. As a result, communities will be better equipped to respond to future emergencies.

For more information contact Emily Sollie at esollie@lwr.org or 410-230-2802.