Catastrophic flooding devastates Zambia, displaces thousands
Southern and Central Provinces of Zambia are grappling with a “catastrophic situation” after prolonged rainfall caused widespread flooding. The floods caused damage to homes and farmlands as well as disrupted access to healthcare and education in communities in Bwengwa, Namwala, Monze in Southern Province, and Mumbwa district in Central Province since mid-January 2023. The government has assured a multi-sectorial response to ensure recovery and rehabilitation.
Southern and Central Provinces of Zambia have been left underwater after prolonged rainfall caused rivers to overflow.
The Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) of the country conducted an aerial survey of affected areas on January 27, 2023, and reported widespread damage to homes, farms, and livestock.
The communities affected by the disaster are now isolated, leaving them without access to healthcare and education, and sanitation facilities have been completely submerged, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases.
The DMMU has declared the situation “catastrophic” and is calling for emergency intervention, especially in the delivery of food and non-food relief items.
Flash floods and heavy rain have been causing damage to homes and livelihoods since mid-January, with Eastern Province’s Lusangazi District being one of the hardest hit.
On January 16, 2027, several homes in the area were damaged or destroyed, and 27 households lost almost everything. Residents were advised to relocate and rebuild more resilient housing.
Rising levels of the Luangwa River in Lusaka Province on January 17, severely damaged an important bridge and other river crossing points, disrupting transportation and access to educational facilities.
Further damage was reported in Chongwe District in Lusaka Province, where 29 houses collapsed and 37 were severely damaged.
Over 20 000 people were affected in Luano District in Central Province after being cut off by the flooding of the Mkushi River.
According to the country’s flood monitoring system, some rivers are expected to be high or experience a second peak well into February, including the Luapala River in Milenge District, the Kafue River in Kitwe District, and the Zambezi River in Lukulu and Senanga Districts.
1 Disaster Management & Mitigation Unit – DMMU – January 2023
2 Zambia – “Catastrophic Situation” After Floods Hit Southern and Central Provinces – January 30, 2023
Featured image credit: DMMU
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