Key facts:

Hazards covered by anticipation    

Drought | Floods

People reached by anticipation (activation)

START Network 2016: 48,490

Anticipation partners in country    

Zambia Red Cross Society | Netherland Red Cross | Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre | International Federation of the Red Cross | 510 initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross | WARMA (Water Resource Management Authority) | DMMU (Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit) | ZMD (Zambia Meteorological Department) | Ministry of Health | Ministry of Community Development and Social services | Ministry of National Development and planning | Ministry of Agriculture | Ministry of local Government | Mulungushi University | University of Zambia | WFP | UNICEF | Catholic Relief Services | Concern Worldwide | Oxfam | Save the Children | World Vision

Inform Risk Index    

Hazard and Exposure: 2.4

Vulnerability: 5.7

Lack of Coping Capacity: 6.0

Total: 4.3 (medium risk)

Rank: 69


Photo by Sanja Gohre/ IFRC

Country Profile

Zambia is a low income country with three distinct climate zones and high levels of poverty and inequality. As of 2015 nearly 60 percent of the population earned less than US$1.90 per day, three quarters of whom live in rural areas. Zambia is exposed to a variety of hazards, amongst which droughts, floods and epidemics affect the highest number of people and cause most deaths. Other relevant hazards are wildfires, pests and environmental degradation. Zambia does not face high risk due to frequent occurrence of hazards but rather because of its extreme vulnerability, which is due to high levels of poverty. In addition, the rural population’s livelihoods are largely dependent on agriculture and natural systems, such as rain-fed agriculture. As climate change is expected to increase frequency and intensity of floods and droughts, this will add additional pressure on the agricultural sector and already vulnerable, rural populations.

Flooding affects the highest number of people in Zambia, leading to the destruction of housing, critical infrastructure (transport, education, health) and the commercial service sector. Exposure to drought is particularly high in southern Zambia. Droughts impact the agricultural sector by killing crops and reducing yields, and it may also lead to significant, economic losses in hydropower production. Epidemics, which more common in urban areas and are linked to overall vulnerability and lack of hygiene and sanitation, are the most fatal hazard in Zambia.


Forecast-based Financing (FbF) in the Zambia – Taking advantage of the forecast to implement early actions to minimize the impact of anticipated disaster flood, drought 

Since 2018 Zambia Red Cross has been working to build partnerships with local stakeholders and establish FbF in Zambia. A flood EAP was approved in September 2020.

In 2016, START Network provided Catholic Relief Services, Concern Worldwide, Oxfam, Save the Children, and World Vision with approximately £109,000 to prevent worsening food insecurity that was anticipated because of late rains in the Western and Southern provinces.

FAO is working to support early action for drought in Zambia.