Zambia, a nation painted emerald hues by sprawling maize fields, stares into the abyss of a hunger crisis. Oxfam, the global inequality fighter, warns that over a million farming households – the backbone of the country’s food production – are hurtling towards acute food shortages and malnutrition. This grim reality, exacerbated by climate change and the El Nino weather phenomenon, has caused massive crop failures across half of Zambia’s planted area.

“The situation is dire,” says Ezra Banda, Director at Keepers Zambia Foundation, a partner organization working with Oxfam. “This crisis hits at a time when Zambia is still reeling from the worst cholera outbreak in recent history, on top of another dry spell and last year’s floods.”

The relentless drought, which began in January this year, has crippled eight provinces, with the Southern, Central, Eastern, North-western, Western and Lusaka provinces bearing the brunt of the devastation. President Hakainde Hichilema painted a stark picture, revealing that Zambia endured five rainless weeks precisely during the crucial planting season. The consequence? A staggering one million hectares (2.5 million acres) of crops – enough to feed a significant portion of the nation – lie withered and wasted.
Oxfam’s projections are far from comforting.

The organization warns that this extreme food shortage will cast a long shadow, persisting until the next planting season – a harrowing twelve months away. Even before this crisis, Zambia grappled with one of the world’s highest malnutrition rates. Nearly half (48%) of the population already struggles to meet their minimum daily calorie requirements, with a staggering 35% of children suffering from stunting.

“Urgent support in the form of food and clean water is paramount right now,” pleads Banda. With Zambia’s breadbasket parched and its people on the precipice of hunger, the need for a swift and comprehensive response is undeniable. The world must watch Zambia with concern, and act with compassion, to prevent this tragedy from escalating