THE twinges of hunger are normally caused by strong contractions of the stomach when it is empty.
This prickly sensation is often accompanied by hunger, or the desire to eat and it is almost impossible to stop these pesky hunger pangs without eating.
The root causes of hunger are varied and intricate in Zambia where over 70 percent of the population is poor and 58percent are classified as extremely poor while food timidity have reached exceptional levels.
This is because hunger is intimately entwined with poverty. Hunger is caused by poverty, ignorance, calamity and disease.
However poor rains due to climate change, no doubt, affected crop yields in many parts of Zambia during the last farming season, especially in Southern Province which was worst hit hence the prevalence of famines reports from there.
It goes without saying therefore that in dealing with the adverse effects of climate change, that have continued to harm our agriculture, government will need necessary interpositions and policies to heighten adaptive capacities as a nation.
This is the only way forward to reduce susceptibility and build adaptive capacity by mainstreaming climate change so that these do not affect our national development planning processes.
We all know the outcomes of hunger and food insecurity which mostly leads to severe malnutrition which is not good for the nation as it invariably affects development efforts.
So the story of brutal hunger stalking Chirundu’s Ibbwemunyama ward where residents are now surviving on wild fruits which have to be cooked for three days before consumption is noteworthy.
The Sun reports severe hunger has struck Chirundu’s Ibbwemunyama ward forcing people to survive on wild fruits that need to be cooked for three days before consumption, council chairman Robinson Sianduba has confirmed.
Mr Sianduba said hunger had worsened as the wild fruits also had become scarce in the area due to high demand.
He said the situation had come about due to the dry spell experienced in the 2018/19 farming season resulting in total failure of the maize crop.
Mr Sianduba said that most of the people in that ward were famers because normally it received good rains and was considered the maize belt of Chirundu district.
Mr Sianduba strongly appealed to government to ensure that it distributed mealie meal and maize to the vulnerable families in the ward considering that it was very remote from the town where people could easily access other foodstuffs.
He called on the ministry of Agriculture to evaluate the damage and advise the responsible departments on what could be done to alleviate the hunger situation especially in Ibbwemunyama ward.
There was an urgent need to conduct an assessment before any life was lost.
Mr Sianduba has also advised farmers to diversify and plant a variety of drought resistant cash crops in the next farming season in case maize fails again due to uncertainty of the weather patterns.
Meanwhile Chirundu district administrative officer Mr O’Neill Chiiya has confirmed that government through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) has again delivered 4480 x 12.5kg bags of mealie meal consignment stored at Sikoongo Community Shade while waiting for another consignment to be distributed to eight wards in the district.
Mr Chiiya said government was very much alive to the hunger situation in the district and equal to the task to alleviate poverty.
Unfortunately this scenarios is not only restricted to Chirundu alone as reports for other parts of Zambia complaining of famine have kept flowing in.
But with government’s assurance that it is on top of things, we can only hope and pray that food reaches those in need of it in good time to avoid the unexpected.