Lusaka, 3 March 2011 - A high level HIV and AIDS National Partnership Forum was convened to present commitments to the recently released National AIDS Strategy Framework (NASF).
By Kanni Wignaraja and Amaya Gillespie*
Zambia is one of the countries most affected by HIV and AIDS with 14.3% of the population estimated to be living with HIV. We are now approaching almost 30 years of trying to control HIV and AIDS: So what have we learned, and what are we doing differently?
In highly affected countries like those in this region, the risks are high, but it is very clear that women and girls are most affected. More women (16%) than men (12%) are living with HIV in Zambia and it is women of reproductive age (15 - 45) who are most at risk.
During the period 11 to 20 March 2009, heavy winds and rainfall affected much of Zambia resulting in widespread flooding. The provinces most affected are Western, Eastern, Lusaka, Central and parts of Northern. The country continues to experience moderate to heavy rainfall. Reports have been received of flash floods and water levels of the Zambezi basin are rising.
The rain season is progressing very well with most places receiving their normal rainfall. According to the meteorological department the crop water requirement satisfaction index was generally good, meaning the water levels were just right for agriculture purposes. There are intermittent periods of rain and sunshine, but the meteorological department predicts an increased amount of rainfall in the next 10 days especially on the southern and western parts of the country.
The rains have continued steadily as we remain with 2 months to go before the end of the rainy season. There are intermittent periods of rain and sunshine, and agriculture experts say this is good for crops. The weather bulletin as of January 20th, 2009 indicates that there was an increase in rainfall activities over southwestern parts of Western province.
The context within which we are operating pretty much remains the same as was reported in the previous update. The rainy season is well under way and the meteorological records indicate that the rainfall is normal in most cases. Reports of cholera have continued being captured in the mainline public and private media.
The flood waters are receding in many areas, although there has been renewed flooding in Kafue and Mazabuka due to the opening of the Itezhi-Tezhi dam spill gates. High rainfall is expected over the coming weeks in Northern, North-Western and Copperbelt Provinces. The Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) is monitoring thesituation and has received reports that Mbala District has experienced heavy rains over the past six days.
- A new camp was set up by the Zambia Red Cross Society over the weekend, approximately 50 km east of Kafue town
- The Ministry of Agriculture released the latest crop monitoring report. The report highlights that the expected crop yields have been forecasted to decline due to heavy rainfall that has resulted in water logging, leaching of nutrients and flooding that has occurred in many districts of the country.
The rains continue in the northern parts of the country.
On 27 February 2008, the Zambia Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) released a draft flood impact assessment report from 19 flood-affected districts, indicating that 5,796 households have been displaced.
The gates at Itezhi-Tezhi dam continue to be open as more water is expected.
Update on Situation
Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) issued a press statement that they will be opening one of the Kariba gates. However, it is not stated when this will be done, but the ZRA has indicated they will provide seven days notice before releasing the gate. This will have an effect on the Kafue river basin and the Luangwa River basin and regionally on the Zimbabwe and Cahora Bassa dam in Mozambique.