Zambian president calls for joint efforts to tackle drought affecting southern Africa

LUSAKA, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema on Monday urged southern African countries to use their resources to help countries affected by drought in the region.

Hichilema said solidarity and unity are needed to combat the humanitarian crisis caused by drought due to the El Nino weather conditions.

"Unless we collectively utilize our resource endowments to support deficit areas, our regional economies will suffer, and our economic gains could be reversed due to this humanitarian crisis," he said in a post on his Facebook page after participating in a virtual extraordinary summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state and government.

He said the debilitating drought's impact on food and energy security in the region could not be overemphasized, as no country has been spared by the crisis. He commended the solidarity and unity displayed at the summit to combat the challenge.

Strategies for water harvesting and using coal as an alternative energy source should be urgently explored, he added.

Some countries in the region have experienced droughts caused by poor rains during the 2023/2024 rainy season, which affected crop production. Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe have so far declared states of disasters and emergencies and appealed for support to tackle the negative impact of the drought.

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