About two-thirds of Zambians live in poverty. With an adult HIV prevalence rate of 13.5%, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS is around 980,000 - 7.7% of the total population - and the number of orphans due to AIDS is around 690,000 - 5.4% of the total population. The main humanitarian emergencies experienced by Zambia are drought and floods, both often affecting food security. The rainfall season does not just lead to flooding but also to the outbreak of water-borne diseases. Of particular concern is cholera which, over the past few years, has become endemic. Per capita, Zambia is one of the biggest recipients of official development assistance in Africa, receiving over USD 1 billion in 2007 (most recent official figures).

During 2013, Zambia experienced persistent drought conditions, leading to an increase of people at risk of food insecurity from 63,000 in 2012/2013 to 209,498 in 2013/2014. Last year, Zambia was not hit by cholera.

Since 2007, OCHA ROSA has supported various activities in Zambia, including:

  • Developing a comprehensive contingency plan covering floods;
  • Establishing a joint memorandum of understanding (MoU) involving OXFAM, UNICEF, WHO and OCHA ROSA, aimed at ensuring a more coordinated response in countries that experience cholera, including Zambia;
  • Reviewing Government Emergency Preparedness and Response Information Management systems through a SADC information management project that seeks to strengthen SADC Member States’ disaster management authorities’ information management capacity;
  • Facilitating the submission of a project proposal from the UN Resident Coordinator on pandemic preparedness (totalling USD 95,000) to the UN’s Central Fund for Influenza Action to strengthen influenza preparedness and response.