water crisis

Water crisis hits Zambia’s Southern Province

Zambia’s Southern Province, home to most of the country’s livestock, is facing a water crisis following the collapse of four major dams during the last rainy season. The dams are Chimbwali, Japhet, Hakantu and Chookole in Monze East and Monze West wards.

The province is home to nearly half of Zambia’s livestock population, estimated at 2.5 million heads of cattle in addition to sheep and goat. Nationally, the livestock sector contributed 35% to national agricultural production.

The Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) says it sent a team to the area to determine the extent of damage to water infrastructure.

Fred Chaatila, Member of Parliament for the Moomba constituency – which is most severely affected – said the dams that catered for the area were washed away at the peak of the last rainy season. “This is a crisis affecting both humans and animals. It must be addressed urgently,” Chaatila said.

Moomba, 200 kilometres south of the capital Lusaka, has an estimated population of 40 000 people and more than 30 000 heads of cattle. “People wake early in the morning and walk long distances in search of water for themselves and their animals,” Chaatila said.

He said the situation also sparked fears of outbreaks of human and animal diseases.

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