According to the acute food insecurity analysis in Zambia released in December, around 1.42 million people (22 per cent of the analysed population) were facing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above) between July and September 2020, despite increased crop production in most areas. This includes 1.24 million people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and nearly 190,000 people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). The situation is attributed to the impact of flooding, below-normal rainfall, an outbreak of Fall Armyworm, high staple prices and the socio-economic impact of COVID-19.
Between October 2020 and March 2021 (lean season), Zambia’s food security situation is expected to deteriorate, and more households expected to rely on the market for food. At least 1.98 million people (29 per cent of the analysed population) will be facing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above) and require urgent humanitarian action.
Despite the Government relaxation of some of the COVID-19 containment measures, Food Security partners have reported that the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, including job losses and reduced remittance into the country will continue to have far-reaching effects on the livelihoods of many vulnerable and low-income people in urban and peri-urban settings, limiting their ability to meet their food and nutrition needs.
According to the results of a rapid food security impact assessment to establish the impacts of COVID-19 on livelihoods and food security among the urban populations, over 322,000 people (64,400 households) in over 90 high density and low-income urban and peri-urban areas in Lusaka, Kafue, Livingstone and Kitwe districts experienced food insecurity as a result of the pandemic, and are in need of humanitarian assistance to meet their food and other essential needs.
Preparations for the expansion of the COVID-19 Emergency Cash Transfer (ECT) programme to Livingstone, Kitwe and Kalulushi districts are underway, with over 131,000 people expected to be reached with cash assistance for six months. In the reported period, the sector has identified and enrolled all eligible beneficiaries in the three districts. Once scaled up, the sector will provide assistance to all the 64,415 identified vulnerable households in six districts (Lusaka, Kafue, Kitwe and Livingstone, including Chilanga and Kalulushi recently added to the targeted districts).
Overall, since July 2020 the sector has assisted 36,311 households (among them 143 refugee households), reaching 181,555 people in Lusaka and Kafue districts. Each family in Lusaka and Kafue received ZMW 1,600 (approximately US$88) via mobile money services to cover their needs for four months.
The sector continued to coordinate with the Government the implementation of the COVID-19 ECT programme, with the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS) taking a lead in community engagement and sensitization activities through its district and community level structures.
To implement the COVID-19 Food Security Response, the sector requires a total of $48.9 million, of which $11 million has been secured so far, enough to reach vulnerable and food insecure people in Lusaka and Kafue and to expand to other areas. The ECT needs responding to food insecurity for the six districts are expected to be met with the available contributions.