The 2015 In – depth Vulnerability and Needs Assessment was triggered by prolonged dry spells experienced mainly in the southern half of the country between February and March 2015. The Assessment was designed to understand the impact of these prolonged dry spells on selected sectors of the economy in forty-eight (48) districts of Central, Copperbelt, Eastern, Luapula, Muchinga, Northwestern, Southern and Western Provinces.
The results of the assessment showed that the main livelihoods for most people in the assessed districts was farming where sixty (60) percent of households earned their incomes and food. The other livelihoods were trading, agriculture wage labour, skilled trade, non-agricultural wage labour and remiattances.
The Assessment further determined that production of maize in most of the districts reduced by as much as 38 percent. The western province districts were the most affected indicating a loss of as much as 41 percent overall. In terms of carry – over stock, only 34.7 percent of households reported to have had stock from the previous season. When households were asked when cereal would run out, about 55.2 percent indicated that they would have no cereal by July. By the time the households start the lean period around November, 86.7 percent of the households would have run out of cereal.
The assessment results showed that there were variances in food expenditure share across the districts covered. In this regard, majority of the households spent most of their money on food items.The results showed that 34.8 percent of the households had an expenditure share on food of between 51 and 75 percent. A further 34.1 percent of households had food expenditure shares of more than 75 percent.
The coping strategies index (CSI) showed no major food insecurity stress across the surveyed districts. This could be attributed to the period of the assessment when even the poor households are able to access own food production, and also engage in agricultural labour for incomes and food exchange.
The Assessment showed that most of the people in the assessed districts have acceptable food consumption scores (52.7 percent) followed by those with borderline food consumption scores (24.6 percent). The Assessment showed that most of the people in the assessed districts have acceptable food consumption scores (52.7 percent) followed by those with borderline food consumption scores (24.6 percent).
Utilizing a composite food security indicator developed by the Consolidated Approach for Reporting for Security which combined FCS, Expenditure share and coping behaviour, (CSI and FCS), 31 districts out of the 48 assessed districts, will require humanitarian assistance for part of the 2015/16 consumption season. Based on this, 798, 948 people in 31 districts will require relief food amounting to 53, 242 MT of cereal for eight months.
In terms of health, there is need to strengthen Malaria Control Programs especially in the districts that are currently showing an increase in malaria. There is need to strengthen water quality monitoring in all the districts to ensure safe water sources of drinking.
For nutrition, the survey results showed that on average 0.3 percent of households in the entire district slept hungry, 8.9 percent ate once and 46.3 percent ate two times the day preceding the survey. About 2.1 percent of the households in Shangombo, Ikelenge, Sikongo and Sioma had no meals a day preceding the survey. Sikongo and Sioma recorded the highest proportion of households (50.7 percent and 34.6 percent respectively) who had one meal the day preceding the survey. Further, Lukulu and Nyimba showed that over 79 percent of the households ate two meals the day preceding the survey. The results further showed that in terms of child nutrition, 2.2 percent children were at risk of severe wasting, 3.2 percent were at risk of moderate wasting and 94 percent of the children were not at risk of wasting or death in the entire district.
For water, sanitation and hygiene, the results showed that reported main water sources that were affected (that is lower water level than in previous years same time) is 2, 585,983 people or 430,997 households. The population that reported main water sources which dried up is 1,082,752 people (180,459 households).
A large number of households in the assessed districts did not have any toilets and practice open defecation. The population which reported not having sanitation facilities stood at 927,551 people (154,592 households). Districts where households do not have sanitation facilities were mainly in Western Province.