Written by on August 22, 2019

THE country is facing a serious hunger situation and many households especially in rural areas affected by the drought, have been worst hit.

To make matters worse, is the rising cost of mealie meal, Zambia’s staple food.

This means that many families are finding difficulties in meeting their daily food needs because the major component of their meal is scarce or too expensive to afford.

This is the reason that many people from different sections of life, have been calling upon government and the republican President in particular, to sort out the issue of escalating mealie meal prices. The people want mealie meal prices to be reduced to below K90.

While the price of mealie meal is being looked it, we are glad to note that the  Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) has continued to help affected rural areas with relief food.

We note that huge amounts of relief food is being distributed in different parts of the country.

For instance, the DMMU has  released 6,100 metric tonnes of relief for the month of August to Southern and parts of  Western Provinces in its continuous relief food distribution exercise.

DMMU Communications Officer Rachael Chama said Western province has received 3,200metrict tones which will be distributed to all the 16districts and another 2,900metric tonnes would be distributed to 13 districts of Southern Province. 

Ms Chama said that DMMU had further released K1.2 million to Project Implementing Partners (PIPs) engaged in distributing relief food to the affected households in the two provinces.

According to Ms Chama, “These PIPs are mainly non-governmental and Faith Based organisations who distribute based on the list of the vulnerable identified by the District Disaster Management Committees (DDMCs).

It is also heartening to note that contrary to popular belief that the relief food was not fairly distributed, we are glad to learn that the exercise is indeed very transparent and fair.

“The DDMCs are multi stakeholder committees, including the respective Area Members of Parliament that have the responsibility to ensure relief is distributed in an accountable manner,” Ms Chama assured.

And Ms Chama said about 20,000 metric tonnes of relief maize had been distributed in the relief pipeline from January to date.

According to authorities, government has spent approximately K42 million in the distribution exercise in the affected districts in the country.

Unfortunately, despite this amount of money being spent, not nearly everyone has been catered for yet. There are still complaints of some areas not having received relief food yet.

This of course, can only be verified by officials from the Vice President’s office under whose jurisdiction this fall through the DMMU.

We know for a fact that the department has set out a well scheduled programme to ensure that no Zambian is left to starve because of hunger precipitated by a drought.

It is also important to point out here that ultimately the battle against hunger and starvation should be fought on all fronts. While farmers are engrossed in cultivation of crops to feed the nation, the rest of the country should concentrate on ensuring that climate change effects are understood and mitigated against.

Our scientists should take time to help locals understand climate change and the devastating impact that this has on a nation such as the current food scarcity resulting from a prolonged drought in most parts of the country.

The  drought lasted for such a long time that it is not surprising that the effect are equally devastating. What is surprising is that people are surprised that this has happened.

We think that this is a wake up call for every Zambian and the nation as a whole that this change in weather pattern is here to stay.

We need to start planning how to deal with the effects and not be caught napping. Let us prepare adequately for the future affected by climate change.

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