Saturday, July 12, 2008

Zambia responds to climate impacts

An article by Sanday Chongo Kabange, AfricaNews reporter in Lusaka, Zimbabwe: Villagers that have lived in Southern Zambia for over 50 years did not expect to experience 13 straight days of rainfall. In the village of Magoye, houses, food, crop and livestock were all washed away by the floods.

Devastating floods hit Southern Zambia during the 2007/2008 rainy season and compelled rural communities to adjust to new livelihoods. Weather experts and researchers cited global climate change as cause of the floods in Southern Zambia. Therefore, it is very likely that these kinds of disaster will occur more often in the future.

A recent report from the University of Zambia in Lusaka says, Southern Zambia will continue to experience more rainfall than ever, because of the changing weather patterns globally. The report adds, that some of the risks, the region is likely to face, are an increment of mortality caused by thermal stress as heat waves, more floods, bushfires, droughts and cyclones that goes together with an increased transmission of vector-borne, food borne and waterborne diseases.

This prompted most people in Southern Zambia moving away from their traditional livelihoods. They are now considering relocating to higher grounds, building their houses with cement and planting their gardens slightly further from the river banks and valleys. The majority of the population is small holder farmers, who started only now with rearranging their livelihoods. They are resorting different farming techniques, such as planting early maturing or drought resistant food crops.

…Studies have shown that Southern Zambia, which is traditionally a drought prone region, will continue to experience extensive flooding and heavy rainfall.

The meteorological department in Zambia is therefore urging communities around the region to think about new agricultural practices to adapt their livelihood to the new weather conditions.

One technique which helps people to cope with the alteration from droughts to floods is water harvesting. Mable Hachamba is a retired high school teacher who has always been involved in gardening and diary farming. Hachamba has dug a dam where she wishes to store excess water. Later, she will use this water to irrigate her garden and to look after the animals on her newly established settlement…

Photo of a Zambian village by Florence Devouard, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2

No comments: