Choma mayor Javern Simoloka says 2019 has been a disaster and that people only survived by God’s grace.
“Hardships that the country faced in the year 2019 have left many Zambians traumatised especially those in rural areas. Severe hunger is seen today by everyone and only a mad person can refuse that fact while the cost of living has gone up due to the poor economy that has even weakened the kwacha. “This year alone we have witnessed a lot of unbelievable things happening in the country that have left us speechless while others were traumatised,” says Simoloka.
Thousands of Zambians wake up every day to a living nightmare – a devastating combination of poor governance and drought has left them on the brink of starvation.
In many parts, especially in the southern and western parts of our country, many people are facing severe hunger.
They are living in extreme hunger due to poor rains last season which decimated food production. If the drought continues this year, the situation will only get worse.
Not knowing where your next meal is coming from must be a terrifying prospect for the men, women and children who live this nightmare every day.
There’s need to meaningfully help those in desperate need.
But to save lives, we need to do more – and we need to act fast.
Being hungry means more than just missing a meal.
Hunger is a perilous cycle that passes from one generation to the next: families who struggle with chronic hunger and malnutrition consistently go without the nutrients their minds and bodies need, which then prevents them from being able to work, go to school, or improve their lives.
Breaking the cycle of poverty and building strong communities begins when every person has enough nutritious food to live a healthy and productive life.
People suffering from chronic hunger are plagued with recurring illnesses, developmental disabilities and low productivity. They are often forced to use all their limited physical and financial resources just to put food on the table.
A mother who suffers from hunger and malnourishment has an increased risk of complications during childbirth or delivering an underweight baby, which can mean irreversible physical and mental stunting right from childbirth.
Drought — as a result of climate change and increasingly unpredictable rainfall — is becoming one of the most common causes of food shortages in this country. It causes crop failures, and dries up farmland in poor communities that have no other means to survive.
Hunger traps people in poverty. People living in poverty struggle to afford safe, nutritious food to feed themselves and their families. As they grow hungrier they become weak, prone to illness and less productive, making it difficult to work. They can’t afford the tools, seeds and fertiliser they need to increase their production, let alone have the strength to perform laborious work.
The limited income also means they often can’t afford to send their children to school or they pull them out to work to help support the family. Even if children are lucky enough to go to class, their malnourishment prevents them from learning to their fullest.
Lack of education prevents better job opportunities in the future, confining yet another generation to the same life of poverty and hunger.
Malnutrition causes stunting — when the body fails to fully develop physically and mentally — and increases a child’s risk of death and lifelong illness.
A child who is chronically hungry cannot grow or learn to their full ability. In short, it steals away their future.
Hunger affects children the most and prevents them from building a full, healthy life.