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Climate change adversely affecting countries in southern Africa Climate change adversely affecting countries in southern Africa  (AFP or licensors)

Food situation in Zambia on verge of a crisis

A new BBC report on Zambia, published Friday, has said that parts of Zambia are now only one-step away from famine.

Africa Service – Vatican City

The report highlights that climate change has resulted in a devastating two-year drought situation and for the first time in 15 years the World Food Programme (WFP) has started distributing food relief to some of the worst hit areas.

Catholic Bishops have been urging govt to do more

Only two weeks ago, Vatican News reported that President of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops, George Cosmas Lungu raised the alarm about the food situation and said the Zambian government could do more to marshal support from the international community.

Estimated 2.3 million people in need of aid

According to the WFP, the 2018/2019 farming season in the southern half of Zambia experienced drought conditions that have resulted in significant crop losses and poor harvests. An estimated 2.3 million people, representing 25 percent of the rural population, are now in need of emergency humanitarian assistance.

Country is struggling with debt burden

Zambia is a country with 17.1 million people. In spite of earlier positive economic growth figures and relative political stability over the years, poverty levels have remained high with over half of the population living below the poverty line.  The Zambian Government is experiencing serious fiscal challenges and rising debt burden.

2020: Complex humanitarian challenges

However, it is not just Zambia.

Zimbabwe, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central Sahel region have also been identified by WFP when it comes to hungry children, women and men.

“WFP is fighting big and complex humanitarian battles on several fronts at the start of 2020,” said David Beasley, Executive Director of WFP. “In some countries, we are seeing conflict and instability combine with climate extremes to force people from their homes, farms and places of work. In others, climate shocks are occurring alongside economic collapse and leaving millions on the brink of destitution and hunger.”

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation.

03 January 2020, 15:23