Humanitarian crisis looms in Zambia

By Sanday Chongo Kabange, AfricaNews reporter in Lusaka, Zambia
A humanitarian crisis is looming in several parts of Zambia with the capital, Lusaka under severe rains that have flooded many high density residential areas. Over the past few days, heavy rains that had slightly subdued for about a week have once again resurfaced causing extensive damage to sacks housing the capital city’s low income earners.

Days of continuous rainfall in many parts of Zambia has left thousands homeless, while livestock and food crops have been washed away. Weak interlinks bridges across cities have not been spared. They have either been swept away by heavy current or extensively damaged.

In Lusaka alone, about 730 people have been relocated to the resettlement campsite, outside the Independence Stadium, north of Lusaka’s Central Business District.

According to Red Cross, more families have continued to seek alternative shelter from the from Independence Stadium campsite, while the Zambian government through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) are providing basic services such as corn meal and chlorine.

Charles Mushitu, secretary general of the Red Cross in Zambia said over the weekend “the situation is likely to worsen with all these rains. We are now trying to pitch up more tents in anticipation of increased inflow of affected people”.

Weather experts maintain, the latest wave of flooding in the Zambian capital is as a result of climate change but authorities in Lusaka have chided the claims, contending they require verification.

A snip check in Lusaka has established that the heavy downpour which started last Friday night has submerged close to 95 houses in Lusaka’s high density slums of Chawama, Kamwala South, Mandevu, Msisi, Kuku, George, Chibolya and Kabwata site and service.

More houses in these areas have been submerged after a continuation of heavy rains that have rocked the southern Africa state over the past few days.

Authorities now fear that the escalating number of people being relocated to temporal tents at Independence Stadium grounds might spark a humanitarian crisis. Concern is growing as internally displaced persons outstrip basic services being offered at the temporal resettlement site.

11 people have already died of cholera and there are signs of malaria outbreaks.
It has since been learnt that each family is allocated two tents regardless of the size of the family. Approximately 80 tents have been erected since the relocation exercise commenced about a month ago.

School going children, pregnant women and elderly of both sexes are all cramming up for limited sanitary facilities being offered by Red Cross and its partners.

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