Africa: Drought-Hit Zambia Asks for Billion-Dollar Aid

About 10 million people are at risk of starvation

Hakainde Hichilema

While Gulf countries have been hit by very heavy rains that have cost dozens of lives in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, millions of residents in South Africa are at risk of facing a famine of biblical proportions. In Zambia, almost half of the population has been affected by drought. The specter of famine is on the doorstep of millions of people, and the South African country’s President Hakainde Hichilema has asked the international community to provide Zambia with 940 million dollars in aid. Hichilema addressed the nation, stating that this amount was needed to “effectively address urgent humanitarian and rescue needs.” In the country, recalled Hichilema, “9.8 million people have been severely affected by the drought, and 6.6 million of them are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.”

The effects of the drought were particularly seen in the agricultural sector, where one million hectares of maize crops were virtually destroyed. “Reluctantly, on behalf of our government and the people of Zambia, we are appealing to the international community, our partners, the private sector, churches, and non-governmental organizations to support our plan financially and materially to mitigate the devastating effects of the drought,” the president said.

After declaring a state of emergency in the country due to the natural disaster, the Zambian government was forced to introduce a system of forced rationing of food, as well as electricity, since most of the country’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric plants. In addition to Zambia, neighboring Zimbabwe and Malawi have also declared “a state of disaster” due to the drought that has affected much of southern Africa in recent months.