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Floods Displace Thousands in Southern Zambia

Early rains have triggered flooding that has displaced thousands of people in southern Africa. Mozambique and Zambia are among those countries hardest hit.

Reporter Sanday Kabange is in the Zambian capital, Lusaka. He says there are unconfirmed reports that floods have killed at least 22 people. He spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about how the floods have affected Zambia so far.

“Zambia has always been prone to floods, especially the southern part of the country, which is quite a drought-prone area. But in the last few years, we have seen a change, where there’s a lot of flooding. In the past the situation was that the northern part of the country was more of a flood area. But what is happening now is almost the whole country, besides the outskirts of the country, are caught up in these floods. And we’re told that 1.5 million people this year alone are likely to be displaced by these floods,” he says.

Kabange says, “A lot of extensive damage has been done, especially to some bridges that link the capital, which is the heart of economic activity, and some rural areas like farming blocks where Zambia’s food is actually grown…and the washing out of certain bridges and linkages between towns in rural and urban (areas) actually affecting the movement of food, fuel and actually almost everything that is supposed to be moved from one point to the other. Goods and services are being affected by the damage that has been caused, especially to the road network, as well as the road system and parts of some bridges.”

The Zambian government is setting up contingency plans and allocated about $200,000 for humanitarian operations. It’s also working with such agencies as the World Food Program, World Vision and Red Cross to organize shelter and food aid for those who’ve been affected by the floods.