The United Nations has expressed solidarity with the people of Zambia following a sharp rise in food insecurity in the country due to drought during the 2018/2019 farming season.
According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis, undertaken by the Government of Zambia, about 18 percent of the rural population in the country translating into 1.72 million people is already in Phase 3 and Phase 4 levels of food insecurity between May and September 2019.
United Nations Resident Coordinator for Zambia, Dr. Coumba Mar Gadio says the figure is expected to grow during the lean season October 2019 to March 2020 to 2.3 million people in the country.
Dr Gadio said prolonged dry spells affected Southern and Western provinces, as well as parts of Lusaka, Eastern and Central provinces between January and March 2019, while flash floods, water logging and leaching have affected the northern and some part of Eastern province.
He said in the most-affected districts, this is the second consecutive season where prolonged dry spells are affecting households that already had limited cereal stocks before these latest shocks.
Dr Gadio said most of these households rely entirely on crop production for food and income and the combination of dry spells and flooding has also increased the risk of malnutrition, communicable diseases and protection concerns for the most vulnerable.
He said the prevalence rate of stunting is 35 percent in Zambia, and nearly 12 percent of children under age 5 are underweight.
“The United Nations stands with the people of Zambia in these difficult times,” said Dr. Gadio adding that the UN is committed to working closely with the Government and Cooperating Partners to support the delivery of assistance to people in urgent need as the lean season approaches.”