Vice-President Inonge Wina says it is not possible to have an equal distribution of relief food to all districts in the country.
Responding to a question from Moomba UPND member of parliament Fred Chaatila, who wanted to find out if 100 metric tonnes of maize was a standard in the distribution of relief maize in wards, Vice-President Wina said the distribution of relief maize varied, based on the population of the ward and constituency.
“It is not possible to have a standardized allocation of relief food to every district. Populations differ in these districts. You find one population is much higher even in a constituency itself, one ward may have more people than the other. So the 100 metric tonnes is not a standard for each ward for example according to the assessment made, the requests received from the Northern part of Zambia; in Lunga District of Laupula Province, 448 metric tonnes was sent, in Samfya 224 metric tonnes, in Cheigi 224, Nchelenge 112 metric tonnes,” Vice-President Wina said.
“In Northern Province, Kasama [and] Lukashya 100 metric tonnes have been issued, Luwingu, Luposhi 100 metric tonnes. In Chilubi Island 100 metric tonnes, Kaputa 100 metric tonnes. In Muchinga and Isoka; Muchinga will receive 200 metric tonnes, Isoka will receive 200 metric tonnes, Chinsali 100 metric tonnes. So you can see that it varies from district to district it cannot not be uniform.”
And Vice-President Wina explained that the delay to distribute relief food to Lukashya constituency was because the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) was still analyzing the situation in the constituency.
“Mr Speaker, when a disaster is reported, the Office of the Vice-President and DDMU, the office responds to that request simply because we know a disaster is a disaster and it has to be attended to urgently. In the case Lukashya, officers had to be sent to assess the situation of hunger in that constituency, as such, it takes a little bit of time for relief to be taken immediately,” Vice-President Wina said.
“Secondly, DDMU has to find implementing agencies such as NGOs to actually do the implementation of the distribution of relief. So it may look as though it is taking time but we have to go through these processes.”
The Vice-President further urged members of parliament to identify areas that needed urgent attention.
“An in-depth assessment was done for the whole country and the report highlights certain districts that are affected more than others and the relief program is geared to addressing the hunger situation in those districts. DMMU did not wait for in-depth assessment report. DMMU started distributing food as early as April this year,” said Vice-President Wina.
“So we do not need to wait for members of parliament but we would like to engage communities as they go round their constituencies. They can identify needy areas that need urgent attention in addition to the report from the district commissioners.”
Earlier, Lukashya Independent member of parliament Mwenya Munkonge asked Minister in the Vice President’s Office Olipa Phiri on whether the government was aware that Chimalilo area in Musowa Ward in Lukashya Parliamentary Constituency was in need of relief food due to the poor harvest recorded during the 2018/2019 harvest season.
In response, Phiri said government was aware of the hunger situation in the area.
“The government is aware of of the hunger situation in the area and has already allocated 100 metric tonnes of relief food to be distributed to the people of Lukashya Constituency. Government is already working with partners in Lukashya Constituency to start the distribution of the 100 metric tonnes in the next one week. Government is addressing the concerns raised therefore there is no any delay,” said Phiri.