Red Cross Report that Zambia will soon slide into famine refuted

This bulletin is for information purposes only and reflects the current situation of food security in Zambia. The content of this report represents the details available at the time of publication. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and other Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners are working with Zambia Red Cross Society (ZRCS) to assist the affected people.

The situation

Zambia is currently facing acute food insecurity, shortage of clean and safe drinking water, chronic high malnutrition, an energy deficit and livestock diseases. The devastating effects of prolonged dry spells coupled with the late onset of the rainy season have resulted in poor agricultural production and reduced access to food, contributing to acute food insecurity conditions across the country.

The prolonged dry spells between January and March 2019 affected Southern and Western parts of Lusaka, and the Eastern and Central provinces. In most districts, many households are facing a second consecutive season with prolonged dry spells had limited stocks of cereals which depleted during the first three post-harvest months of April – June 2019 setting in motion widespread food scarcity expected to continue up to the next harvest period, that is, April of 2020. Most of these households rely entirely on rain fed crop production for food and income and any prolonged deviation from the normal pattern drastically undermines food security.

Further, thirty-eight (38) of the fifty-eight (58) districts that were in IPC phase 3 (crisis) by April have now degenerated to IPC phase 4 (emergency). A total population of 1.7 million is facing food scarcity.

The Zambian government has refuted the claims in the report. Arguing the Government through DMMU has since increased the allocation of relief from 100 metric tonnes to 200 metric tonnes for the three districts, and is yet to include pulses to the package. He said the Unit is currently providing relief to 1.7 million people that were affected by the prolonged dry spell but the number will increase to 2.3 million from October to March next year.

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