DISASTER Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) national coordinator Chanda Kabwe has described the aftermath of the droughts in Luapula, Northern and Muchinga provinces experienced in the just-ended rainy season as desperate.

In an interview, Kabwe said a lot of damage had been caused by the floods in the affected areas where most families had been left homeless, and that government was still assessing how the victims could be assisted.

“The damage is very heavy and the situation on the ground is very desperate! The level of destruction these floods have left in Luapula, Northern and Muchinga provinces is a very destructive one, and the livelihood of our people has been disturbed so much. It is overwhelming to look at the extent of the damage! In Northern Province, we were told that the last floods they experienced were in 1950, that’s the briefing we got from Paramount Chief Chitimukulu. So, really, the situation in these areas is very desperate and very serious. I will tell you that in some of the districts where they experienced floods, some of them don’t even have toilets. So, we don’t even understand how they get to answer the call of nature because they use pit latrines in the rural communities and these pit latrines got flooded, so we are able to see fecal matter because as the water levels rise, the pit latrines are also rising. People don’t even have water to drink because water has been contaminated by fecal matter,” Kabwe narrated.

He, however, explained what government had done so far to help the flood victims.

“What we are doing as government is that we’ve continued to provide food for these people, we also continued to provide chlorine to try and help out on contamination of water. In some areas, government has asked utilities not to disconnect people who are on their systems because they need water and also because of COVID-19. Government has just finished the procurement of temporal shelters. Then, government, with its cooperating partners, will soon start supporting people through emergency cash transfers and Social Cash Transfers to support communities, and government has a principle of duty back. So, as I am speaking, a team from the United Nations systems that includes the World Food Programme (WFP); the Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Infrastructure, Defense and DMMU are on the ground doing further assessments to see how we could help the 1.5 million people that are affected,” said Kabwe.