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Drought and hunger update

The hunger situation in rural areas is escalating. According to our partners on the ground,

“People have no money to buy mealie meal (cornflour), the staple diet for most Zambians. The government through the Disaster Management and mitigation Unit (DMMU) is not supporting all the affected people with food relief, probably due to the fact that the affected area votes for the opposition. The current situation is that, in rural areas, every household is affected with hunger but distribution of food relief is selective. In every village which has more than 120 people, only two people identified as chronically sick are given one bag of mealie meal each – a mere 12.5 kg which can only last for 2 days because in rural areas families live together as extended families. This has resulted in many people including the aged, the disabled, the sick, orphans, and children being left out. At Food Reserve Agency, a 50 kg bag of maize is sold at K111.00 (about £7). But the selling is slow and only a certain number of bags of maize is sold and when that number is met, the FRA stops selling the bags of maize for the day. And each person is only allowed to buy one bag of maize. The selling is not every day and so many people from rural areas have to go home empty-handed or are forced to spend nights in the cold to wait for the following day. Fights have broken out for the limited supply of bags of maize when hundreds of people have been forced to spend nights waiting, and still don’t manage to buy food after spending long hours standing in a long queue. And many others cannot even try to buy maize as they have no money left.

“The government does not take the FRA maize to convenient selling points in rural areas, even though this would be an easy way to reduce the distance that people have to journey and cut travelling costs. Because of hunger and poverty in rural areas, the only source of income which remains for many people is cutting down of huge areas of trees to burn and make charcoal which they can then sell in the towns. This practice may further affect the rain pattern in the 2019/2020 farming season or cause landslides. But people are desperate.

“Climate change continues.”

We are doing what we can, feeding children through two schools that we work with, and through the malnutrition ward at the local Mission hospital. Can you support this life saving work?

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