Caritas is appealing for E745,000 to support Zambian communities as they cope with the impact of the drought and help them build resilience against future climate crises.

It has already warned that Zambia is facing one of its first droughts in decades and 2.3 million people urgently need help.

Not enough rain in the 2018-2019 period means that wells have dried up; families’ maize stores are empty and livestock have died in the south of the country.

Many families can’t even afford to eat one meal a day, crime has increased in affected areas and prices have also increased. Children are deeply affected as they either drop out of school to go and sell food for their families or they have poor concentration at school due to hunger. The lack of water has a triple effect on agriculture, health and nutrition

“Caritas Zambia has been responding to the devastating effects of the drought by providing food to the affected communities,” says Musamba Mubanga, Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation programme specialist from Caritas Zambia.

“We have also focused on providing solutions to water shortages in some areas. Furthermore, through the current emergency programme, Caritas Zambia will help affected communities address food insecurity and also focus on building their resilience to further droughts.”

Through its emergency programme, Caritas will provide cash transfers so vulnerable people so that they can buy the food they need. It will help establish village loan and savings groups so people can still afford food as prices rise. It will also help create activities where people can earn money.

Part of the year-long programme will be dedicated to boosting the nutrition of underweight children and ensuring communities understand the importance of good nutrition, especially in the young.

Nine thousand households will benefit from gardening activities, receiving training in making their crops more resilient, and they will receive drought-resilient and early-maturing seeds.

Making agricultural practices more robust in the face of climate threats is essential as 60 per cent of the Zambian population rely on agriculture for their livelihood.

Livestock has been diminished not just because of the lack of pasture and water because of the drought but also because of foot and mouth disease, East Coast Fever and Anthrax.