Zambia needs K22 billion for humanitarian, recovery needs amidst drought

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PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema, has appealed for international aid to address the country’s drought crisis as Government estimates that K22.2 billion is needed to meet humanitarian and recovery needs.

The Head of State said initially, the funds needed were over K23 billion but only K1.3 billion is available.

These funds will be used for food assistance, education, healthcare, water management, agriculture, and livestock preservation.

Last night, the President launched an international appeal for humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought that the nation is experiencing in the 2023/24 season.

“It is our firm belief that the various local and international partners shall join hands with the Zambian government and the Zambian people to alleviate this wave of humanitarian situation and other negative effects of this drought,” declared President Hichilema.

President Hichilema said K12.6 billion is required for immediate food assistance out of which K28.3 million is available leaving a gap of about K12. 54 billion.

He also explained that the education sector, particularly in expanding the school feeding programme was in dire need of a sum of K784 million.

The President shared that the health sector required a substantial amount of K2.5 billion out of which K51.7 million was available leaving a gap of K2.45 billion.

To protect the integrity and well-being of children under five years as well as pregnant and lactating mothers for their nutrition needs, President Hichilema disclosed that K532 million is required.

He added that for the pillar of early recovery and resilience building which is the water resources development and management, K3.02 is needed out of which K569 million is available leaving a funding gap of K2.4 billion.

The Head of State reiterated that agricultural production as part of early recovery and resilience building will require K2.5 billion.

President Hichilema further said the livestock and wildlife preservation and wellbeing requires K1.7 billion, out of which K98 million is available, leaving a gap of K1.5 billion..

President Hichilema since appealed to the international community, partners within the country such as the private sector, the church and civil society organisations to support Zambia’s plan both financially and materially, in addressing the devastating effects of the drought..

On February 29, this year, President Hichilema declared the drought as a national disaster and emergency.

Government revealed that 9.8 million people have been adversely affected by this drought out of which 6.6 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

By Catherine Pule

Kalemba, April 17, 2024

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