Lusaku - The Zambian government has reportedly started an operation to issue at least 48 000 metric tons of relief food to Malawi and Zimbabwe as part of the $2.4 million Southern African Development Community (SADC) humanitarian appeal for 'hunger stricken' countries.
According to Lusaka Times, the Zambian government declared that it was mandated to provide relief support to its neighbouring countries, as it was part of the international community.
Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) National Co-ordinator, Patrick Kangwa said that President Edgar Lungu had sanctioned the exportation of maize to the affected countries.
"Government of Zambia shall continue to assist in any way possible to mitigate the sufferings of our brothers and sisters in the region affected by dry spells and drought," Kangwa was quoted as saying.
Reports indicated that an estimated 40 million people in the southern African region were in dire need of food assistance, among them, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
The UN agencies recently warned that southern African countries were at risk of another year of food shortages as the drought-hit region was expected to be hit by above-average rainfall likely to trigger floods.
The region was still reeling from the effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon which devastated crops leaving at least 18 million people in need of food aid, according to the World Food Programme.
Meteorologists, however, forecast the region would this year experience more rainfall than normal due to an extreme weather pattern known as La Nina.
- News 24