Lusaka — AN estimated 2,3 million people are facing severe acute food insecurity this month as Zambia suffers its worst drought in 38 years.
This is up from an estimate of 1,7 million people a month ago.
Large parts of southern and western Zambia received their lowest seasonal rainfall totals since at least 1981.
At the same time, northern and eastern parts of the country were affected by flash floods and water logging, resulting in poor harvests.
"The successive mixture of drought and flooding has been catastrophic for many communities," said Kaitano Chungu, the Secretary General of the Zambia Red Cross.
He lamented that in most of the affected areas there was insufficient drinking water, resulting in people, livestock and wildlife using the same water points.
"This is unacceptable as it exposes people to diseases and creates a heightened risk of animal attacks," Chungu said.
The Zambia Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have appealed for (R51,6 million) to address the crisis in Zambia.
Zambia, a country of some 17 million people, is among Southern African countries worst affected by drought since late 2018.