More than 2.3 million people are expected to be severely food insecure during the lean season (October 2019 – March 2020) in Zambia, according to the latest Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, with four districts—Sioma, Lunga, Shang’ombo and Gwembe—classified as Emergency (IPC Phase 4). The devastating combination of prolonged and severe drought in the Western and Southern provinces of Zambia over the last two rainy seasons (2017 and 2018), and floods in the north, has led to increasing hunger. The 2018-2019 rainfall season was one of the poorest that the southern half of Zambia has faced since 1981, according to the Zambia Meteorological Department, negatively impacting on crop production and consequently food availability and food access. Pest infestations and livestock disease outbreaks, including foot-and-mouth disease and fall army worm, have further aggravated the situation, and 58 districts have registered a significant decline in maize production, the main staple food item in Zambia, according to the Zambia Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) report.
Acute malnutrition (wasting) has risen to nearly 6 per cent across the nine provinces of Zambia, according to the VAC, and decreased access to clean water has increased the risk of communicable disease outbreaks, such as typhoid and cholera. At least 64 per cent of the affected population relies on unsafe water sources water and 95 per cent do not treat their water before use. The reduced quantity and quality of water is particularly impacting women and girls, who are facing challenges in maintaining menstrual hygiene. The drought has also forced women and girls to travel further, and spend more time and effort, to collect water, exposing them to additional risks. At the same time, there has been an Zambia is also responding to a Vaccine Derived Polio Virus Type 2 (VDPV2) and has launched an immunization campaign targeting more than 478,500 children in the northern part of the country.
As of November 2019, the Humanitarian Country Team has mobilized US$36 million ($16 million committed and $20 million received, including $8 million from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)) against the Humanitarian Appeal requirement of $89.5 million. The appeal was launched in October 2019 to support the Government’s response efforts. These resources have enabled humanitarian partners to kick start activities in all sectors. More funding is, however, required urgently to prevent the humanitarian situation from deteriorating as the country approaches the peak of the lean season.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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