"A study and analysis of the social vulnerabilities of communities living in flood risk areas on unplanned settlements in the city of Lusaka, Zambia"
Siachoono, Bennett Mudenda
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The republic of Zambia lies on longitude 30° degrees east in the sub-Saharan region of the continent of Africa. The Country’s former colonial masters were British. In pursuit of the Cape to Cairo railway link by the British South Africa Company led by Mr John Cecil Rhodes, the development did reach the present day Lusaka in the 1900s. As a link station, Lusaka: the capital of Zambia since May 1935, was never planned to develop any bigger: it was just a perfect northerly route for the planned railway line. The present day city parameters covers an area of 375 square kilometres. The emergence of unplanned settlements all over the city has been as a result of an ever increasing population driven by the rural urban drift of the 1930’s. Compelled by the labour demands and the sought after livelihood options in the city, rural–urban migration has been constant to date with a notable pressure on the limited land in the city. Geographically, the city of Lusaka is 1,280 metres above sea level and was founded on a swampy location that has a generalized underlying rock formation made up of dolomite and lime stone. In the past, and prior to the population pressure, the processes of excess water drainage into the sub-soils, took place naturally. Historically, even during the city’s founding, occasional flooding was experienced because of the high water table close to the ground surface (UNEP,UN-Habitat, UNESCO & MEWD. 2009:2). The sheer high population density residing in the unplanned settlements has slowed the naturally occurring infiltration of the excess run-off rain water. The city’s population majority is found on the unplanned settlements causing serious environmental impacts. Inadvertently, Floods and epidemics have become a norm during every rainy season in the city of Lusaka. Apart from the ecological damage, there is contemporary social vulnerability at all the unplanned settlements; a dimension that is growing by the day. The social dimension embraces social organizations, knowledge, access to governance and social equity (Concern 2005). The seemingly unending population increase, unemployment, urbanization and overwhelmed social services are all the contemporary trends associated with the city of Lusaka.