Zambia needs 738,000 tonnes of maize for relief efforts

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Zambia needs approximately 738,000 metric tons of maize to meet the food needs of drought-affected people over the next 14 months, the country’s disaster response agency said Tuesday.

Gabriel Pollen, National Coordinator of the Disaster Mitigation and Management Unit, stated in a joint press conference on Tuesday that corn is needed in the immediate response to provide relief food to around 6.6 million people.

“The target is 84 of Zambia’s 116 districts that have been negatively affected by the drought,” Pollen said.

He said that so far the Ministry of Agriculture and the Food Reserve Agency have made available 44,286 metric tonnes of maize for immediate delivery to the affected districts, adding that the devastation caused by the drought has led to food insecurity.

According to Pollen, the government is expected to get around US$9.9 million under drought insurance coverage. The World Food Program was expected to provide $3.3 million in the form of social cash transfers.

In February this year, the government declared a disaster and national emergency due to the adverse effects of bad rains attributed to the weather conditions.

(With contributions from the agency)

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