Currently, 22 districts across Zambia are underwater due to climate change-induced flooding caused by above-average rains. A recent report by the Zambia Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) projected that 78 districts in all the 10 provinces in Zambia are at a high risk of flooding even as the rains continue to fall, and rivers burst their banks.
”The climate crisis has directly affected at least 1.5 million people – including an estimated 821,000 children”, Chikwe Mbweeda, CARE International in Zambia Country Director.
In six districts where CARE works, there have been continuous rains that have led to flash floods. Hundreds of hectares of planted fields and grazing lands are underwater. Homes have been submerged as roads and bridges have been washed away, cutting off access by road to the affected communities. At the same time, hundreds of children are unable to get to school due to rising flood waters.
Chikwe Mbweeda, CARE International in Zambia Country Director, said, “We are particularly concerned about the impact this will have on women and girls who end up being affected the most. The climate crisis has directly affected at least 1.5 million people – including an estimated 821,000 children. The current situation in Zambia will push the country back despite some of the strides that had been made. We need all the backing we can get to continue supporting those affected by the floods to get back on their feet.”
At the same time, the threat of waterborne diseases is looming as a cholera outbreak has already claimed the life of one person and several other cases are being investigated by the Ministry of Health in the Eastern Province. There has also been a resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the country.
Dr. Gabriel Pollen, the DMMU National Coordinator said, “To immediately address this disaster, we need US$33 million to reach the more than 171,200 people affected across the districts touched by the floods. The primary focus will be relocating displaced households to temporary camps being set up and provision of foodstuffs and non-food items in the affected districts. Another US$8.5 million will be required for post-flooding and disaster recovery.”
Zambia is one of the most underreported crises in the world. With more than half of the population living on less than $1.90 a day, poverty has negatively impacted the country even before the onset of the triple threat. The malnutrition rate is high, with 48% of the people unable to meet their daily nutrition needs and one-third of the children being stunted, as reported by the World Food Program. The new crisis occasioned by the floods risks being disastrous for the advancement of the country.
CARE Zambia has pre-positioned non-food items and cash in three districts in the Southern Province to support more than 2,700 individuals to help them address the immediate negative impacts of the floods. We continue to coordinate with other NGOs and the humanitarian cluster system. In addition, CARE is actively coordinating with the government as well as local and International NGOs to support ongoing relief efforts.