Lusaka (Agenzia Fides) - "To understand the hunger situation in the Country, the Catholic Church through Caritas Zambia working with Diocesan partners gathered information from the affected households", said His Exc. Mgr. Evans Chinyemba, Bishop of Mongu and President of Caritas Zambia, in launching the $ 9 million collection campaign to be used for the purchase and distribution of food for populations affected by drought and floods during the harvest seasons in 2018 and 2019.
Mgr. Chinyemba specified that Caritas has collected data on the needs of people in need through "community interviews, direct observation and household field visitation in the affected areas". "The hungry people are vulnerable and easily manipulated. This is leading to loss of dignity among our brothers and sisters in Southern, Central, Western, Eastern, Luapula and other parts of the Country. We would like to inform the Government of our concern as well as to make an earnest appeal to our partners and people of good will", said the President of Caritas.
According to data gathered by Caritas Zambia, some families do not have enough food to feed themselves until next year. "The Southern, Western and some parts of Eastern, Central and Lusaka provinces experienced total crop failure. This means that households in these areas did not harvest anything that would help them to sustain their livelihoods up to the next agricultural season. There are 50 districts affected by this situation and households are currently already experiencing serious hunger", said Mgr. Chinyemba.
A total of 418,969 households were affected by the dry spell. In the places visited by the Catholic Church agents, 79 per cent of the crops were affected by drought; 13 per cent by floods; four per cent were affected by both drought and floods.
"The prolonged dry spell during the last farming period has created water shortage for both people and animals. There are already reports from Gwembe that people are sharing water with animals", said the Bishop. "Currently many households have nothing to eat and are surviving on wild fruits or are getting-by without any food. This will certainly compromise the nutrition and health status of most people especially the children and if nothing is urgently done, we may begin to experience deaths from hunger".
For this reason, the ZCCB through Caritas Zambia in collaboration with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Norwegian Church Aid, and CAFOD is putting together relief effort to contribute towards the alleviation of hunger in the affected regions. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 1/7/2019)