GloFAS Bulletin Article, January 2023
Floods in Zambia, January 2022
Disaster authorities in Zambia reported wide areas of Southern and Central Provinces were under water due to overflowing rivers in late January 2023.
On 27 January 2023, the country’s Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) conducted an aerial survey of affected communities in Bwengwa, Namwala, Monze in Southern Province, and Mumbwa district in Central Province.
DMMU reported widespread damage to homes, farmland and livestock, and described the situation as “catastrophic”. Many communities were isolated and without access to healthcare or education. Furthermore, sanitation facilities were submerged, exposing the population to a high risk of waterborne diseases. Vice President Mrs. W.K Mutale Nalumango toured flooded areas in Southern Province on 03 February 2023.
The United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT) used satellite images to survey ~25,000 km2 of land in Southern, Central and Lusaka Provinces from 26 to 30 January, 2023. (link: https://unosat.org/products/3476 ) UNOSAT found ~4,500 km2 of land flooded, potentially affecting 77,800 people across Itezhi-tezhi and Mumbwa districts in Central Province; Kafue and Shibuyunji in Lusaka Province; and Chikankanta, Mazabuka, Monze and Namwala in Southern Province.
DDMU reported areas of the Luano district in Central Province were cut off due to flooding from the Mkushi River. Over 20,000 people were affected, reported on 26 January.
The Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) issued flood warnings from mid-January. Rivers were expected to be high or experience a second peak well into February.
On 22 January 2023, the Zambia Red Cross Society (ZRCS) received an alert on the Impact Based Forecasting (IBF) and Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS), triggering the Society’s Early Action Protocol (EAP).
(link: https://reliefweb.int/attachments/97d65264-4695-427f-a1e6-0b1535511aaf/MDRZM017%20EAP%20Notification%20Zambia%20Floods.pdf (note this is a pdf)
Severe weather including heavy rains and flash flooding caused damage to homes and livelihoods in the country earlier in January. Homes were damaged in Lusangazi District in Eastern Province on 16 January 2023. An important bridge was destroyed by floods in Mumbwa District in Central Province on 17 January. Heavy rain and flash floods also damaged or destroyed homes in Chongwe district, Lusaka Province, around this time.
Image 1: Photo from the DMMU aerial assessment of the floods in Southern and Central Provinces, done with ZAF air support, 27 January 2023. Photo: DMMU Zambia
Image 2: Photo from the DMMU aerial assessment of the floods in Southern and Central Provinces, done with ZAF air support, 27 January 2023. Photo: DMMU Zambia
Image 3: Satellite detected water extents between 26 and 30 January 2023 in Southern, Lusaka, and Central Provinces, Zambia. This map illustrates cumulative satellite-detected water using. Credit: United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT)
By Richard Davies Feb. 15, 2023, 10:25 a.m.