Zambia: Drought Operations update 1, Emergency appeal n°: MDRZM012

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

This Operation Update no. 1 reports on progress to date and the changes made on implementation strategies the Emergency Appeal. The update is for the period when the operation was launched in October 2019 to date. The Emergency Appeal was launched for an amount of 3.5 Million swiss francs of which only 28 percent of it has been funded. The implementation of activities and achievements made so far has been in line with the funding situation. In the Emergency Appeal, 3 scenarios were presented:

  • Best case scenario where Emergency Appeal is fully funded and hence implementation will be done as planned

  • Most likely scenario where Emergency Appeal is not fully funded and access to target population becomes a challenge, this will result in reducing the targets and prioritize the target population basing on need and accessibility

  • Emergency Appeal is minimally funded, ZRCS will prioritize the relief efforts to most vulnerable population

The appeal targeted a total of 3 Districts for a period of 18 months with 28 percent of the requested funding that has been mobilized. The major activities being implemented with the current funding situation include the distribution of unconditional cash transfer to 4,000 families representing approximately 24,000 people against the initial plan to reach out to 9,510 families. The total funding so far mobilized is close to 1 million swiss francs. The relief activities of unconditional cash transfer is planned for a period of 4 months from February to May 2020. The target households will receive cash transfer of 26 swiss francs (510 Zambian Kwacha) for 4 months to cover the food needs and secure the new harvest and prevent recurrent food shortages for the next planting season. WASH, Health and other food security and livelihoods activities included in the initial Emergency Appeal (EA) have not been implemented until more resources are mobilized.

The expenditure rate of the operation stands at CHF 241,836 which is twenty-three (23%) percent of the operational budget.

Description of the context

Zambia is currently 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.

Further, fifty-eight (58) districts are affected comprising of the fifty-five (55) districts in phase 3 (crisis) and three (03) districts already in IPC phase 4 (emergency).

According to the 2019 Zambia Vulnerability Assessment report, a total population of 1.7 million is facing food scarcity in the period May to September 2019 and the affected population was projected to rise to 2.3 million in the period of October 2019 to March 2020. The situation has deteriorated due to consecutive reduction in cereal production, largely as a result of erratic rains, late onset of the rainy season and frequent prolonged dry spells that characterized the 2018/2019 rain season.

The Zambia Meteorological Department seasonal forecast for the 2019/2020 period predicts unfavorable patterns characterized by both below normal and normal to above normal in the southern half and northern half of the country respectively, raising the probability of both dry spells and flood occurrences in traditionally drought prone and flood prone areas of the country. This may result on recurrent food insecurity for most parts of the country.