|09LUSAKA216||2009-03-30 13:29:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Lusaka|
R 301329Z MAR 09 FM AMEMBASSY LUSAKA TO SECSTATE WASHDC 6863 HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE AMEMBASSY PRETORIA INFO SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS LUSAKA 000216
1. SUMMARY: During the month of March 2009, many parts of
Zambia have experienced high rainfall resulting in
flooding, particularly in the Western and Northwestern
provinces. According to ZambiaQs Disaster Management and
Mitigation Unit (DMMU), Shangombo district in Western
province is the most affected with loss of human life,
houses, field crops and access roads. The flooding
displaced hundreds of people. In other districts, floods
washed away roads and bridges, collapsed or submerged
houses and damaged crops.
2. The Government of the Republic of ZambiaQs (GRZ) Current
Efforts and Capacity: Through the DMMU, the GRZ is
providing food and shelter to flood victims and repairing
damaged bridges and roads to ease transport and
communication. The GRZ has indicated that it has the
capacity to provide food supplies and repair damaged
infrastructure. It received adequate relief supplies last
year from donors, including the United States. However, it
may not have adequate funds for logistics.
3. Extent of Flood Damage: In Shangombo, the floods
displaced an estimated 500 villagers. Reports cite a loss
of food items, crops, and access roads. Authorities have
recorded three flood-related deaths in Shangombo. The DMMU
has indicated that displaced people will require shelter,
food, and disinfectants to prevent any disease outbreaks.
According to media reports, floods have affected several
districts in Zambia, washing away roads and bridges, and
submerging and damaging houses and field. As of the date
of this cable, the GRZ has not declared a disaster, and it
appears capable of addressing the situation. Post does not
have a reliable indication of the extent of flood damage,
except for Shangombo, where the DMMU conducted a rapid
assessment. Post sees no indication that the GRZ will
declare a disaster in the near future.
4. Health Concerns: Flooding has not resulted in a major
increase of water-born disease, but the risk of disease and
water contamination remains high.
5. Monitoring of the situation: Post will continue to
closely monitor the flood situation in Zambia. Post will
work with the GRZ, Department of Water Affairs,
Meteorological Department, and other relevant offices.
Post will participate in any planned Vulnerability
Assessment Committee (VAC) flood assessments and, as chair
of the donor group for humanitarian assistance, coordinate
the international response to any event.
6. Weather Outlook and Potential Effects of Floods: The
Meteorological Department has indicated that Zambia will
continue to receive above normal rainfall through March.
Potential effects of prolonged high rainfall may lead to an
increased likelihood of wide spread flooding. Heavy
rainfall will affect the crop which has already reached
maturity stage and may adversely affect crop yields. As
experienced in the past, flood-displaced wild animals
become destructive to field crops.
7. Flood Preparedness: At the beginning of the rainy
season, the Meteorological Department forecasted that
Zambia would receive normal to above normal rains,
resulting in floods in some areas. The DMMU issued alert
information through electronic and print media on remedial
measures. The GRZ developed a 2008/09 Contingency Plan for
Floods. The plan articulates the governmentQs response to
floods, the roles to be performed by various stakeholders,
and the anticipated budget.
8. The GRZ Appeal: The DMMU has indicated that it is able
to respond to the disaster needs and at this point there is
little likelihood that GRZ will declare a disaster.