Zambia: Rapid flood impact assessment report Mar 2007

Situation Report
Originally published



Following reports of floods from various districts countrywide, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) commissioned a Rapid Flood Impact Assessment in February 2007. The overall objective of the assessment was to determine the effects and extent of the floods on housing, infrastructure, health, food access, water and sanitation, education, crops and livestock in the affected districts. The DMMU constituted 12 teams, which visited 41 districts in all nine provinces from 21st February to 5thMarch 2007. The assessment was conducted with the support of the District Disaster Management Committees (DDMC) in the affected districts.

Although in general terms, the floods have had adverse impact on all the sectors considered in the assessment, infrastructure, water and sanitation were severely affected in most districts. The impact on infrastructure had an adverse multiplier effect on other sectors such as health, education and agriculture. Of the total flood affected population of 1,443,563 only an estimated 295,148 people require immediate food aid amounting to 7,084 MT of cereal for two months (March and April, 2007).

Findings indicate that no significant change of concern was observed in the prevalence rates of common diseases such as malaria, diarrhea and Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) in almost all districts. From the 41 districts assessed, 29% reported high malaria prevalence rates while 32% reported high diarrhea prevalence rates. There was no change observed in ARIs. Availability of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) and community level health campaigns were the main attributes for the low malaria prevalence. Despite the observed low rates of diarrhea prevalence, there is a high risk of water contamination due to faecal matter. The assessment established wide spread use of unprotected shallow wells which are the main water source for most households. Furthermore these shallow wells are at risk of being contaminated due to poor sanitatary facilities for human waste disposal.

The impact of floods on education in terms of attendance rates was mainly attributed to damaged infrastructure such as bridges, culverts, classroom blocks and toilets. The most affected districts reported 40 to 50% reduction in attendance. The rest of the visited districts reported insignificant change of attendance rates (60 to 100%). Learning processes were not disturbed by the floods as classes continued under alternative structures in almost all affected districts. Infrastructure damage due to floods was mainly in the high rainfall areas of Northern and North-Western provinces and was mostly on community-managed infrastructure projects like community schools, bridges and culverts. Some roads have been rendered impassable due to flooding. Impact on health infrastructure was low in all assessed districts. Some mobile clinics have been suspended due to impassable roads.

Of the assessed districts, only 7 reported severe impact of flooding on the staple and cash crops with loses ranging between 75 and 100%. Most of the remaining districts reported low impact on these crops with percentage damage below 25%. Impact on livestock was generally low for all districts with 0-25% effect and no significant impact was observed on aquaculture.

In some areas the floods have also led to straying of wild animals that have caused damage to crops in Western and Eastern Provinces. Sesheke and Shangombo in Western Province and most Southern Province districts reported a prolonged dry spell of at least 3 weeks. Access to food was generally not significantly affected by the floods in almost all districts except for Chavuma and Zambezi west banks in North-Western Province where over 75% of the affected population currently have no access to food, and are depending on food aid from Government. In most of Western and parts of Central provinces, districts have serious food shortages with only 25-50% of the affected populations accessing food. Based on the findings, the assessment recommends continued community sensitization on the appropriate use of ITNs, sanitation and public health, supply of water treatment chemicals and scaling up of borehole drilling at community level including capacity building of the DDMCs. A total of 33 districts should be supplied with chlorine for water treatment for two (2) months. In addition 405 boreholes should be drilled in these same districts. Education infrastructure development, rehabilitation of damaged roads and bridges should be restored to ensure accessibility. A total of 2,832 tents to be provided to displaced populations in Chibombo, Kapiri Mposhi, Kabwe, Mambwe, Chavuma, Mwinilunga, Zambezi and Kabompo districts.

In the medium to long term, Government and the private sector should focus on supporting diversification of crop production in response to changing climatic factors. About 12,050 households in 14 affected districts should be supported with inputs for winter cropping to supplement expected harvest from current production. Timely provision of appropriate inputs cannot be overemphasized. The team also recommends undertaking of detailed assessments on the impact of adverse weather conditions experienced during the 2006/07 rainy season. Targeted food assistance to populations in districts with less than 50% access to food is recommended for two (2) months.