According to the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), over 1.9 million Zambians are at risk of food insecurity.
According to Dr. Gabriel Pollen, DMMU National Coordinator, the 2022 In-depth Vulnerability and Needs Assessment Survey, which was completed in June of this year, the risk of food insecurity is owing to floods and dry periods experienced in various parts of the country.
The 2022 In-depth Vulnerability and Needs Assessment, according to Dr. Pollen, also intended to provide an understanding of the multifaceted repercussions of the shocks encountered during the 2021/2022 monsoon season.
He said 50 districts needed humanitarian assistance while the main sectors identified as having been affected by the floods/dry spells were Agriculture and Food Security and nutrition, Health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
“The Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) conducted the 2022 In-depth Vulnerability and Needs Assessment Survey in June this year. The In-depth Assessment was conducted under the umbrella of the Zambia Vulnerability and Needs Assessment Committee which is a consortium of various stakeholders that include the Government, the United Nations system, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The Assessment was conducted in ninety-one (91) districts in all the ten (10) provinces of Zambia, in order to ascertain the impact of the 2021/2022 Rain Season on the livelihoods of citizens. The 2022 In-depth Vulnerability and Needs Assessment also sought to provide an understanding of the multi-faceted impacts of the shocks faced during the 2021/2022 rainfall season namely; prolonged dry spells, floods, economic shocks, diseases (both human and livestock) and pest infestation (mainly the Fall Army Worms),” Dr. Pollen said.
He said during the projected period, between October 2022 and March 2023, the food insecurity in about fifty (50) hotspot districts is expected to worsen with about 1.95 million people at risk.
“During the 2021/2022 rainy season, some parts of the country recorded normal to above normal rainfall which resulted in flooding in some parts of the country while others experienced some dry spells.According to the report, 50 districts needed humanitarian assistance while the main sectors identified as having been affected by the floods/dry spells were Agriculture and Food Security and nutrition, Health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. The key drivers of the vulnerability between December 2021 and March 2022 were flooding experienced, dry spells, pest outbreaks such as the Fall Army Worms (FAW) and stock borers.During the projected period, between October 2022 and March 2023, the food insecurity in about fifty (50) hotspot districts is expected to worsen with about 1.95 million people (representing 14% of analysed population) requiring urgent humanitarian action to reduce food gaps, protect and restore livelihoods and prevent acute malnutrition during the lean period,” Dr. Pollen said.
He said DMMU has also requested the Food Reserve Agency to do community sales in 31 districts to make the commodity (grain) available for those who will receive the Emergency Cash Transfer.
“According to the report from the survey, a total of 1,952,123 people (308,687 households) from the fifty (50) districts will require support for the period of six (6) months (October, 2022 – March 2023). From the 50 districts earmarked to receive humanitarian support, a total of 12 districts will be on the Emergency Cash Transfer programme as recommended by the National Disaster Management Council leaving 38 districts on in-kind food distribution programme. DMMU has also requested the Food Reserve Agency to do community sales in 31 districts to make the commodity (grain) available for those who will receive the Emergency Cash Transfer. So far, the Treasury has released funds to DMMU to bolster preparedness and response to undertake anticipatory actions in view of the 2022/23 rainfall season which is projected to be characterised by floods and dry spells as indicated in the 2022 National Contingency Plan and the recovery action plan for 2022/23,” Dr. Pollen said.
He said it has been projected that in the 2022/2023 rainfall is expected to be normal.
“All the District Disaster Management Committees have been put on standby to adequately prepare and respond to the anticipated incidents (floods, hailstorms and cascading effects of the primary hazards such as water borne diseases).As projected by the Zambian Meteorological Department (ZMD) in the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment, the 2022/2023 rainfall season which coincides with the projected period has been forecasted to be normal in most of Southern Africa, hence it is expected that poor households will rely more on wage employment opportunities for food and income. Flooding is also expected to occur especially in flood-prone areas in the north and north eastern parts of the country thereby affecting most of the households that live in those areas. COVID-19 will continue to pose risks to areas close to main urban areas and the possibility of the Monkey pox scare also on the horizon.DMMU wishes to thank all the institutions that rendered financial and logistical support towards the production of the 2022 In-depth Vulnerability and Needs Assessment. The report is a product of various stakeholders who worked tirelessly to ensure that it is produced,” Dr. Pollen said.