UN Allocates $5.5 Million to Zambia for Drought Relief Efforts

The UN allocates $5.5M to support Zambia's drought response, as the crisis leaves 6M in urgent need. The government seeks global aid to address the devastating impacts on lives, livelihoods, and food security.

Ebenezer Mensah
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UN Allocates $5.5 Million to Zambia for Drought Relief Efforts

UN Allocates $5.5 Million to Zambia for Drought Relief Efforts

The United Nations (UN) has allocated $5.5 million through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support Zambia's response to an unprecedented drought that has affected 84 of the country's 116 districts. The funds will be used to provide emergency food aid, distribute clean and safe water, offer protection, and deliver healthcare services to address drought-related health risks.

The support will also help strengthen the resilience of drought-affected communities to mitigate or avoid the humanitarian impacts of the drought and ensure that emergency relief enhances sustainability. "The UN is committed to helping Zambia respond to the drought emergency," said Penelope Campbell, the UN Resident Coordinator in Zambia.

The drought crisis has left approximately 6 million people in urgent need of assistance, with the majority being women and children. The UN's allocation of funds comes after Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema declared the drought a national disaster and emergency in February 2024, stating that the country requires around $940.6 million to provide relief aid to nearly half of its 20 million population affected by the drought.

Why this matters: The severe drought in Zambia has far-reaching consequences, not only threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions but also potentially impacting the country's economy and food security. The UN's support highlights the international community's recognition of the crisis and the need for collaborative efforts to address its devastating effects.

Acting President of Zambia, Mutale Nalumango, has also requested assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to address the drought crisis. While the Zambian government has allocated 28.3 million Kwacha, Nalumango acknowledged that it may not be sufficient to sustain the impact and called for global support in the form of safe and clean water, food, health, irrigation, and humanitarian aid for both humans and livestock.

Mercedes Martin, the IMF Mission Chief for Zambia, expressed deep concern about the drought's impact and stated that the IMF is collaborating with partners to explore additional financial resources to support Zambia. "We suggest incorporating the drought crisis into the revised 2024 budget discussions," said Martin, emphasizing the need for enhanced cooperation between the government, stakeholders, and the IMF to effectively mitigate the impacts.

Key Takeaways

  • UN allocates $5.5M to support Zambia's drought response through CERF.
  • Drought affects 84 of 116 districts, leaving 6M in urgent need of aid.
  • Zambian president declares drought a national disaster, seeking $940.6M in relief.
  • UN support aims to strengthen drought-affected communities' resilience.
  • Zambia requests IMF assistance, as government funds may be insufficient.