UNICEF Zambia: Floods situation report No. 6 - 28 Feb 2008

Situation Report
Originally published


I. Key Issues

On 27th February, the Government-led Vulnerability Assessment Committee released a draft multi-sectoral flood impact rapid assessment report from 19 flood-affected districts of Southern, Western, Eastern, Central and Northwestern Provinces. Findings included:

- A total of 3,418 habitations have collapsed as a result of heavy rainfall;

- A total of 5,796 households (~36,000 people) have been displaced, with most IDPs in Monze (Western Province), Mumbwa (Central Province), Mkushi (Cental Province), Mazabuka (Southern Province) and Kafue (Lusaka Province);

- About 70% of displaced households are integrated within communities, while 30% remain in camps or are sheltering in available facilities such as schools or churches;

- 44 schools have been significantly damaged or have collapsed and most schools' sanitation and water facilities have been heavily damaged. As a result, 8600 pupils require alternative learning spaces;

- The expected loss to the main staple crop varies from between 20% in Eastern Province to 80% crop loss in parts of Southern Province. Extensive crop loss combined with an increase in diarrhea cases is likely to precipitate a nutritional crisis over the coming months;

- Approximately 80% of the assessed districts reported poor quality drinking water, mostly attributed to unprotected wells and contaminated rivers and streams. However, most boreholes tested through UNICEF-support indicate extensive water contamination. Only an estimated 50% of the populations have access to safe drinking water and 70% of assessed populations have no access to sanitary facilities;

- The total number of affected in the 19 districts is 393,632 people;

The cholera situation in Mwense district of Luapula Province is under control. No new patients have been recorded since 15 February. Lusaka District continues to report cases of cholera in high density settlements (Chipata Overspill, Chaisa, George (Zone 3) and Matero). Cumulatively 71 patients have been treated for cholera in Lusaka in the last 30 days; no deaths have been recorded. In Kitwe district (Copperbelt Province), 35 cases of watery diarrhea have been recorded with six confirmed as cholera. UNICEF is responding to all three cholera zones by supporting MOH assessments and providing zinc tablets, ciprofloxacilin, sodium lactate, glucose hyperton, ORS, cannulas, and latex examination gloves to District Epidemic Preparedness Committees.

Although heavy rains are forecast until end March in the Northern part of Zambia, floodwaters are receding in the Southern parts of the country, raising the risk of disease outbreaks - diarrhea, cholera, and malaria -- especially from highly contaminated water sources and standing water.

A food security crisis is emerging, affecting many areas that are still recovering from last year's floods. Nearly three months of heavy rains and floods have destroyed fields during the planting season. With the likelihood of a nutritional crisis emerging over the coming months, a nutritional survey is being planned in parallel with the in-depth VAC in April/May.

A two-month supply of therapeutic milk for 600 severely malnourished children borrowed from UNICEF's country office in neighboring Malawi, arrived in Lusaka 25 Feb. for distribution to district hospitals in flood affected areas.

5,000 non-food item (NFI) household kits will begin arriving 05 March from Kenya. Several NGOs have requested kits for distribution to affected households; World Vision will be distributing 1610 UNICEF household kits as follows: 280 NFI kits for the camps in Magoye/Mazabuka area, 250 kits for affected families in Choongo/Monze, 1000 kits for families who lost their houses in Sinazongwe and 80 kits for Chainda area in Lusaka.