VICE-PRESIDENT Mutale Nalumango says six people died in the flash floods which Zambia country recently experienced.

And Nalumango says DMMU has so far spent over K29 million on providing humanitarian assistance to flood victims.

In a ministerial statement, Thursday, Vice-President Nalumango said flooding affected over 7,000 households as of February 14, 2022.

“Allow me now to proceed to discuss the impact of floods on the affected communities across the country. The House may wish to know that following the episode of a dry spell, the start of rains came with flooding incidences of varying degrees in all Provinces, adversely affecting 7,020 households across the country as at 14th February, 2022. The flooding situation has been characterised by loss of human lives. Six lives were lost due to flash floods, four in Southern province, one life in Eastern province and one life in Western Province,” she said.

“Furthermore, 1,066 households have been displaced from their habitual residences, though some displaced households have reportedly re-integrated into nearby communities. Currently, 433 households are in temporary camps which have been established in Namwala, Monze and Mwandi Districts as well as an additional 10 households in Chipulukusu, Mapalo Ward in Ndola who had their homes affected by the floods and heavy rains.”

She said floods damaged 103 bridges countrywide while 130 schools had their roofs blown off.

“Given the nature and intensity of the flooding, transport and communication links in terms of associated infrastructure such as roads, crossing points and bridges have been damaged or washed away, hindering economic activities and disrupting normal functioning of some communities. Based on reports reaching our regional offices, at least a total of 107 bridges and crossing points have been damaged or washed away while 130 schools and 46 health posts have had roofs blown off during the 2021/2022 rainy season,” she said.

And Vice-President Nalumango said DMMu had so far spent over K29 million on assisting flood victims.

“The House may also wish to know that the Government has provided humanitarian assistance in terms of food and non-food relief items to the flood victims. Nevertheless, as the situation is highly dynamic, assessments and interventions are ongoing. The Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit has so far spent about K29,805,800.00 to procure food and non-food relief items to support the victims of rain-storms and floods,” she said.

“I wish to acknowledge the support extended to the Government by different local and international stakeholders. Combined, these stakeholders have provided food and non-food items to victims of floods through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit. Utmost gratitude is extended to Western Seed Company, AfriSeed Company, Seed-Co, Sunshine Millers, First National Bank and Japanese International Cooperation (JICA). We appeal to different stakeholders, local and international, to hold the Government’s hand and provide humanitarian assistance. We believe that Disaster Management is the responsibility of everyone.”

Vice-President Nalumango said DMMU, in collaboration with other stakeholders, would undertake an in-depth Vulnerability and Needs Assessment to gauge the full impact of floods and dry spells on food security and nutrition for the 2022/2023 consumption period.

“The Government, through DMMU, working with stakeholders such as the UN systems, local and international NGOs, will undertake an in-depth Vulnerability and Needs Assessment around mid-to-early-April 2022 to gauge the full impact of floods and dry spells on food security and nutrition for the 2022/2023 consumption period. The information obtained will determine relief and recovery intervention in water and sanitation, health, infrastructure, education, human settlement and shelter as well as energy,” she stated.

“If the scale and scope of devastation remains on the current trajectory, a total of K751,764,786.40 will be required to implement disaster preparedness and response activities during the 2021/2022 rainfall season. The intensity of flood and rainstorm incidents are projected to increase due to extreme weather events as forecasted by the Zambia Meteorological Department (ZMD). Provision of humanitarian assistance will require resources for procurement, logistics and distribution of both food and non-food relief items.”

Meanwhile, Vice-President Nalumango said the recently experienced dry spell during the 2021/2022 farming seasons created a conducive environment for army worms.

“Due to delayed onset of rainfall, it was only in December 2021 that the country’s staple, Maize, was being planted across most parts of the country, which is about a month late compared to the normal situation. The negative impacts also included the following: 1. For farmers who planted early in November, 2021, there was generally poor germination due to insufficient soil moisture, resulting in many farmers acquiring extra seed for replanting, subsequently leading to increased production costs. 2. There is likelihood of reduction in area planted for most crops; 3. The dry spells also created a conducive environment for the outbreak of fall army worms (FAW),” she said.

“A total of 155,010 hectares belonging to 269,273 farmers were adversely affected by fall army worms. However, in response to the outbreak of fall army worms, the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, distributed 110,000 litres of pesticides to all the 94 affected districts in the country. Most of the affected farmers have been able to access these chemicals through their respective agricultural extension officers. The House may wish to know that the prolonged dry spell poses a threat to the national food security situation, particularly if the rainy season does not run its full course as would be required to nurture maturity of crops.”

She informed Parliament that government had procured drought sovereign insurance worth US$1 million to cover farmers’ yields against impact of droughts and dry spells.

“The Government has been proactive rather than reactive. Among other preparedness measures, the Government procured drought sovereign insurance with the African Risk Capacity (ARC) to cover farmers’ yields against impact of droughts and dry spells. For a total premium amount of US$1 million, the Government of the Republic of Zambia contributed US$200,000 while the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) and the African Union (AU) through the MultiDonor Trust Fund (MDTF) covered the rest. The country is expecting a payout of at least US$2.5 million, which will invariably cushion the impact of dry spells,” said Vice-President Nalumango.