by DANAI MWARUMBWA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) urgently needs US$130 million to prevent millions of Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable people plunging deeper into hunger.
The funds required are part of a total food assistance sector requirement of $472 million through December.
The appeal comes as Zimbabwe’s already severe climate- and recession-induced hunger crisis deepening and coronavirus (COVID-19) taking hold.
A recent nationwide assessment – the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) – shows that the number of acutely food insecure Zimbabweans has risen to 4,3 million, from 3,8 million at the end of last year.
Eddie Rowe, WFP’s Country Director, said with most Zimbabweans already struggling to put food on the table, the COVID pandemic risked even wider and deeper desperation.
“We must all do our utmost to prevent this tragedy turning into a catastrophe,” he said.
WFP’s assistance in recent months has helped ease hunger in six of nine districts classified late last year as suffering “emergency” food insecurity.
However, 56 of the country’s 60 districts are now categorised as experiencing “crisis” hunger.
WFP is planning to assist 4,1 million people in April, although insufficient funding has prevented it achieving the same monthly target since the turn of the year.
In March, it reached 3,7 million of the most vulnerable Zimbabweans.
The total number of food insecure people stands at 7,7 million, which is more than half the population.
Cereal production in 2019 was half that of 2018, and less than half the national requirement. Experts predict that the upcoming 2020 harvest will be even poorer.
– CAJ News