by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – AID agencies are providing relief to more than 100 000 urban dwellers during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in Zimbabwe.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has commenced cash disbursements in the scale up of the Urban Social Assistance programme thanks to funding from the United States through the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The financial assistance from USAID allows WFP to provide support to over 103 700 people with monthly cash-based assistance equivalent to US$12 each for the next six months.
Communities in Buhera, Chegutu, Chinhoyi, Chipinge, Gokwe, Kwekwe, Redcliff and Ruwa will benefit.
USAID and WFP will reach the most vulnerable and food insecure families, particularly women, unemployed people, chronically ill and disabled.
In addition to the $10 million US has provided to support the cash transfers for over 103 700 vulnerable Zimbabweans in the urban areas, it is providing over $60 million to support food distributions for nearly 1 million people in rural areas during the current lean season.
“During the pandemic, we will continue to prioritize our critical health and humanitarian assistance activities,” said USAID/Zimbabwe Mission Director, Art Brown.
COVID-19 is aggravating Zimbabwe’s already severe climate- and recession-induced food security crisis.
WFP projections indicate that by year’s end, the number of food insecure people will have surged by nearly 50 percent to 8.6 million.
This is 60 percent of the population.
In urban areas, where ongoing lockdown measures have triggered a massive loss of livelihoods, the number of food insecure people is expected to rise to 3,3 million, from 2,2 million.
– CAJ News