Following the EL -NINO weather phenomenon which has affected this year’s farming season and threatened the national food security, President Hakainde Hichilema has today, in accordance with the Disaster Management Act Number 13 of 2010 and other relevant pieces of legislation, declared the situation a national disaster and emergency.

 

Here are the highlights:

✅ 84 out 116 Districts have been affected by the dry spell. These are in Lusaka, Central, Southern, Copperbelt, Western and some parts of Northwestern provinces.

✅Out of the estimated 2.2 million hectors of planted land, approximately one million hectors have been destroyed by the dry spell and that the drought is projected to continue up march this year.

✅Over a million farming householders will be affected by this year’s dry spell.

✅The energy sector is expected to have a deficit of about 450 megawatts which may extend up to 500 megawatts which will negative impact on the country’s economy because the mining firms and agriculture will be affected.

✅The EL -NINO weather phenomenon has affected ground and surface water which simply means that the pastures for livestock and wildlife have also been affected and that will increase human animal conflict leading to outbreaks of diseases.

✅The President has assured the nation that working together with all citizens and cooperating partners, Government will overcome the challenges that have come about due to the dry spell.

✅The Head of State has, however, announced short- and long-term measures which Government will implement to ameliorate the situation and they include:

Short term measures:
i. Channel more resources towards humanitarian relief purposes to ensure that the affected citizens do not go hungry.
ii. Government will focus on importing and rationing of power.
iv. The use of alternative energy will also be promoted.
v. Government will also come up with by laws that punish individuals degrading the environment such as bush burning.

Long term measures:
i. Will enhance water harvest investment.
ii. Will accelerate the development of alternative energy sources.
iii. Will invest in drought resistance crops.
iv. Will aggressively shift resources from unnecessary expenditures.
v. Government to expand the agriculture credit window.

✅The President has directed all defence forces to be involved in fighting drought through increased food production.

✅Ministry of Community Development and Social Services to enhance social support programmes to families in affected communities.

✅He has directed the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to enhance community sales of maize in affected households.

✅ The President has called upon local and international partners to avail any excess food on hand to provide relief to affected communities.

✅ Some partners have already extended their commitment to offer support such as the British, the UN system, the World Bank Group and others.

✅The President called for accountability in the use of resources meant to help the affected communities, warning that any persons found abusing resources these resources will face the full wrath of the law.

✅Israel will send specialized team of experts to Zambia to help the country in its Water Harvesting efforts.

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