Zambia – Floods in Southern Province

More flooding has been reported in Zambia, this time in Southern Province where crops have been destroyed in areas already facing food shortages after severe drought.

According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), Gwembe and Siavonga districts in the south are amongst the hardest-hit by the recent rains.

Zambia Meteorological Department reported 109mm of rain fell in Gwembe 109mm on 15 January 2020. Local media reported that a bridge has been washed away by flood waters in Monze District.

OCHA said, “The flooding has destroyed crops, including maize, especially in Munyumbwe area in Gwembe District, according to the Government’s Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU). Some bridges have been submerged in the same area, hampering access. Gwembe District was already facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of food insecurity due to the worst drought the country has seen since 1981. Last year, the district recorded a 98 per cent reduction in maize production, compared to 2018 and the five-year average.”

Forecasts suggest Zambia is likely to experience heavy rains in the coming days, with potential for flash floods in Mufumbwe, Kasempa, Kabwe, Lusaka, Siavonga, Gwembe and Chipata districts.

OCHA said the rainfall and flooding could aggravate the already fragile food insecurity situation, with more than 2.3 million people expected to be severely food insecure during the lean season following severe drought.

Flooding hit parts of Eastern Province from late December, 2019. As of 01 January, 2020, over 200 families had been displaced in Mambwe district and a further 60 families displaced in Lumezi district.