'3m Zimbabweans face hunger'

HARARE - An estimated three million Zimbabweans — 23 percent of the country’s population — is food insecure in the wake of one of the worst droughts to ever hit Zimbabwe, a government official has said.

Zimbabwe Food and Nutrition Council director George Kembo told delegates at the signing ceremony of a $10 million donation from the US government for hunger alleviation on Thursday that at the end of January, Zimbabwe had received less than 75 percent of the expected rainfall.

“The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Zimvac) had initially said that about 1,5 million would be food insecure, a figure that rose to 2,8 million then the current three million.

“After all the preliminary work has been done, we do not expect the figure to rise significantly from this,” Kembo said.

At the event, the US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry Thomas, announced an additional $10 million in response to the food security situation in Zimbabwe.

The country has already declared a drought emergency and is now appealing to the international donor community to offer aid promptly for relief operations in order to avert the crisis.

The $10 million, provided through the US Agency for International Development (USAid), brings the total US funding for drought relief since June 2015 to $35 million, ensuring 600 000 rural Zimbabweans have adequate food supplies to cope with the drought.

Of this, $10 million contribution, $5 million will be allocated to Word Food Programme (WFP) to enable it to provide food rations and cash transfers for the purchase of food to the most vulnerable Zimbabweans.

Guided by the results of the Zimvac Rural Livelihood Assessment, WFP will target three additional districts — Chipinge, Mangwe, and Uzuma Maramba Pfungwe — and scale up operations within the eight districts currently receiving assistance — Zvishavane, Mudzi, Hwange, Binga, Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Kariba, and Mbire — to reach an increasingly food insecure population.

Poor weather conditions in Zimbabwe, including erratic rainfall and long dry spells, have contributed to large-scale crop failure and livestock deaths across the country.

The country was recently ranked number 18 in the top 20 countries most prone to hunger in 2016 by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in its Global Hunger Index (GHI).

Zimbabwe, which has been receiving unreliable rainfall in the past two years, will according to the GHI see “starvation-ranking hunger” in 2016.

Current weather patterns are being influenced by the El Nino phenomenon, a climatic pattern that occurs above the Pacific Ocean every five years and causes extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods in many regions of the world.

Comments (7)

To think we are faced with horrendous problems due to the drought and here all our top officials spend all their time fighting one another shows clearly that the one and only thing they care about is themselves. I very much doubt whether any of them will suffer from the effects of this drought but especially those living in State House where lavish meals are provided? These people have lost touch with reality and haven't a clue what it is like living in the rural areas where money and food is so scarce. Good leadership skills have been absent for the past 30 years and the current state of this once highly productive country proves it. Blaming the Rhodies, the Imperial West, everything white doesn't resonate anymore, Robert. Only one person to blame and that is YOU. Our leader, Ian Smith was so right about you when in 1979 he tried to warn those stupid British Ministers that the country would end up in chaos under the rule of Mugabe? No time for recrimination - time to help each other try and overcome the effects of this ugly drought.

White Colonial Boy - 5 March 2016

To think we are faced with horrendous problems due to the drought and here all our top officials spend all their time fighting one another shows clearly that the one and only thing they care about is themselves. I very much doubt whether any of them will suffer from the effects of this drought but especially those living in State House where lavish meals are provided? These people have lost touch with reality and haven't a clue what it is like living in the rural areas where money and food is so scarce. Good leadership skills have been absent for the past 30 years and the current state of this once highly productive country proves it. Blaming the Rhodies, the Imperial West, everything white doesn't resonate anymore, Robert. Only one person to blame and that is YOU. Our leader, Ian Smith was so right about you when in 1979 he tried to warn those stupid British Ministers that the country would end up in chaos under the rule of Mugabe? No time for recrimination - time to help each other try and overcome the effects of this ugly drought.

White Colonial Boy - 5 March 2016

I don't want to minimize this tragedy, but Zimbabwe has been, and will always be prone to droughts. Why were we not prepared for this one? It is not Mugabe's fault - it is not ZANU-PF's fault. We voted them into power. It's our fault. We need to get off our fat backsides, and do something about it.

david taylor - 5 March 2016

It is only a handful of you Taylor, who have been voting for Zanu and Mugabe. Most people have been voting the MDC and Tsvangirai. And by the way, what is this something that we need to do? Only taking up arms against this brutal dictatorship is the answer.

Mr Dete - 5 March 2016

Mr Dete - Each year the situation in the country gets worse, and yet people keep on voting for ZANU-PF. This has been going on for more than 30 years!! And people keep on voting for these thugs. It makes me wonder whether Zimbabweans (who once again voted for ZANU-PF last election, I was NOT one of them) enjoy being victims.

david taylor - 5 March 2016

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