Zambia declares national disaster due to drought caused by El Niño

Zâmbia declara catástrofe nacional devido à seca causada pelo El Niño

The President of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema, declared this Thursday that the country is under a national catastrophe because of the drought it is experiencing due to the El Niño phenomenon, which has devastated the country's agriculture.

Hakainde Hichilema explained that the agricultural sector had been devastated by the lack of rain and that more than a million families had been affected.

"Nearly half of the cultivated area has been destroyed," said the President in an address to the nation, adding that "this prolonged drought has caused a national catastrophe".

The southern African country, which borders Mozambique, has had no rainfall for five weeks, at a time when farmers need it most.

The drought is expected to last until March, so Hichilema appealed for international help.

"The destruction caused by this prolonged period of drought is immense," he said.

According to the head of state, the crisis exacerbated by climate change and the El Niño phenomenon is threatening food security, as well as water and energy supplies, since Zambia is heavily dependent on hydroelectricity.

The President assured that humanitarian aid will be made available to ensure that people don't go hungry and that the government is considering importing more electricity and rationing energy.

El Niño, which reappeared in mid-2023, generally causes global temperatures to rise for a year.

It is currently causing record heat and fires around the world. (Angola Press)

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