Zambia: Drought Operation Update Report 2, Emergency Appeal n°: MDRZM012

Situation Report
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Summary of major revisions made to emergency plan of action:

This Operations Update no. 2 is issued out to inform stakeholder on progress to date and request for a three-month extension to finalize the remaining activities that have been delayed due to COVID-19 and accessibility challenges to the affected areas. The update covers the period between the last update which was issued in March 2020 to date. The Emergency Appeal was launched for an amount of 3.5 million swiss francs of which only 31 percent of it has been funded. Most of the planned activities have been implemented as they were relief in nature except a few WASH, Livelihood and capacity building activities currently being implemented. In the Emergency Appeal, 3 scenarios were presented, and the operation has been on the worst-case scenario:

  • Worst case scenario where Emergency Appeal is minimally funded, Zambia Red Cross Society (ZRCS) would prioritize the relief efforts to most vulnerable population.

Initially the appeal targeted a total of 3 Districts for a period of 18 months and later reduced to one District because of limited funding. The total funding mobilized for this emergency operation is 1.1 Million CHF representing 31 percent of the requested funding.

The major activities implemented include the distribution of unconditional cash transfer to 4,000 families representing approximately 24,000 people against the initial plan of reaching out to 9,510 families. Affected families received cash amounting to 510 Zambia Kwacha to cover the food needs and secure the new harvest of 2020 and prevent recurrent food shortages. WASH, Health and other food security and livelihoods activities included in the EA have also been implemented and some are in progress.

The major outstanding activities include livelihood activities (continue irrigation activities after rain seasons), installation of solar pumps for boreholes, lessons learnt workshop and end of operation evaluation. There has been a delay in finalizing these activities due to the second wave of COVID-19 as well as rain season rendering targeted communities inaccessible. The National Society is therefore requesting an additional three months to get all activities finalized and final report submitted. The new end date is 31 of July 2021.

The expenditure rate of the operation stands at CHF 951,738 which is (87%) percent of the operational budget.


Description of the disaster

Zambia has continued to experience extreme weather events such as floods and drought due to the adverse impacts of climate change and climate variability. During the 2019/2020 rainy season, Zambia recorded above normal rainfall which resulted into flooding and dry spells in isolated parts of the country particularly in Western Province. Therefore, an assessment was undertaken to establish the impacts of the 2019/2020 rainy season on society and the economy as well as the required actions for rehabilitation, recovery and to mitigate these impacts.

Zambia since the 2019 drought is still facing acute food insecurity, shortage of clean and safe drinking water, high chronic malnutrition, energy deficit and livestock diseases. The devastating effects of prolonged dry spells coupled with late onset of the rain season on agriculture production resulted in reduced food availability and access to food, thus contributing to the acute food insecurity conditions across the country. The prolonged dry spells between January and March 2019 affected Southern, Western and parts of Lusaka, Eastern and Central provinces. In most districts, most households, who were facing the second consecutive season with prolonged dry spells, had limited and depleted stocks of cereal, with cereals depleting during the first three months of the April 2019 — March 2020 consumption period. Most of these households rely entirely on rain-fed crop production for food and income.

According to the acute food insecurity analysis in Zambia for 2020, it is estimated that around 1.42 million people (22% of the analysed population) were facing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above) between July and September 2020, despite increased crop production in most areas. That includes 1.24 million people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and nearly 190,000 people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). These populations have been affected by flooding, below-normal rainfall, an outbreak of Fall Armyworm, and high maize prices. Although the price of maize has been on a decline since the start of the 2020/2021 consumption year, it remains above the Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

Between October 2020 and March 2021, Zambia’s food security situation is expected to deteriorate, as this coincides with the lean season, when more households will rely on the market for food. It is projected that about 1.98 million people (29% of the analysed population) will be facing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above) and require urgent humanitarian action to reduce food gaps, protect and restore livelihoods and prevent acute malnutrition. The 2020/2021 rainfall season, which coincides with the projected period, has been forecast to be above normal in most of Southern Africa.