The United Nations has revealed that about 2.3 million Zambians are expected to be hit by food insecurity by March, next year.
In a statement issued to News Diggers!, the UN revealed that according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis undertaken by the Zambian government, data shows that about 1.72 million people in rural areas in the country are already in the IPC phase three crisis and phase four-levels of food insecurity.
“According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, undertaken by the Government of Zambia, about 18 per cent of the rural population in Zambia – 1.72 million people – is already in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) levels of food insecurity between May and September, 2019,” read the statement issued by UN national information officer Mark Maseko, Friday.
“This figure is expected to grow during the lean season (October, 2019, to March, 2020) to 2.3 million people in the country. 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.”
The UN added that the combination of dry spells and flash flooding had also increased the risk of malnutrition, communicable diseases and protection concerns for the most vulnerable.
“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,” read the statement.
“Most of these households rely entirely on crop production for food and income. The combination of dry spells and flooding has also increased the risk of malnutrition, communicable diseases and protection concerns for the most vulnerable. The prevalence rate of stunting (low height-for-age) is 35 per cent in Zambia, and nearly 12 per cent of children under age five are underweight.”
UN Resident Coordinator for Zambia Dr Coumba Mar Gadio said the UN was, however, committed to working closely with the Zambian government to support delivery assistance to people in urgent need as the lean season fast approaches.
“The United Nations stands with the people of Zambia in these difficult times. We are committed to working closely with the government and our cooperating partners to support the delivery of assistance to people in urgent need as the lean season approaches,” said Dr Mar Gadio in the statement.