Government refutes Red Cross report on famine situation

Government refutes Red Cross report on famine situation

The PF government through its Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) has rubbished a report by the Red Cross that 38 districts in Zambia are in the emergency phase of famine.

Government says only three districts are under emergency phase.

DMMU National Coordinator Chanda Kabwe says as far as the PF government is concerned, only Lunga, Gwembe and Shangombo districts are under emergency phase from October 2019 to March 2020.

Kabwe however said (foolishly) that DMMU is currently providing relief to 1.7million people that were affected by the prolonged dry spell but the number will increase to 2.3million from October to March next year.

Kabwe accused the Red Cross of issuing alarming reports, with incorrect statistics on hunger situation in Zambia.

Earlier, the Red Cross said 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 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 rainfed 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.

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