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Zambia: drought, state of emergency declared

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by: Gianfranco Belgrano | March 1, 2024

President Hakainde Hichilema has declared a national state of emergency due to the drought affecting Zambia.

In a speech broadcast yesterday on television and then relaunched by local media, Hichilema said the lack of rain had devastated the agricultural sector, affecting more than a million families.

Without rain for five weeks, precisely at the time when farmers need it most, Zambia risks seeing amplified critical issues that have already been dragging on since last year due to prolonged periods of drought and subsequent floods.

According to Hichilema himself, the drought has heavily affected 84 of the 116 districts into which the country is divided. A crisis that now puts food security at risk, but also the energy supply linked to hydroelectric dams. This situation has already forced plans to import and ration electricity to keep the economy and industries running, especially the heavily energy-dependent mines.

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