Hunger threatens 100 000 households

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Hunger is stalking over 100 000 households after the untimely release of funds by Treasury affecting the performance of social protection programmes around the country.

Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Permanent Secretary Lancester Museka told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, chaired by Mazowe South MP Margaret Zinyemba, that the ministry requested for $3,4 million to finance food aid for 100 000 households, but was allocated $3 million.

To date only $1,1 million had been released by Treasury.

“According to the 2010 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Survey, a total of 1, 3 million people were projected to be food-insecure, translating into 217 000 households affected,” said Museka.

“In 2011, Treasury only released $1, 1 million to support food-insecure households and this was far short of a monthly requirement of $3,4 million that was needed to support 100 000 households between October and December 2011.”

Museka said the amount received from Treasury could only support 75 016 households for one month. He said amounts released by Treasury were also not enough to cover a targeted 5 000 children, including payment of school fees and examination fees dating back to 2009.

The committee was told lack of a database for street children also impacted on projections for funding.

“The community is failing to meet the psycho-social and economic needs of these children, resulting in them going back to the streets,” Museka said. On pauper burials, the ministry was allocated $130 000 out of a bid of $500 000, forcing sympathetic institutions, particularly in Bulawayo, to end up teaming up with residents to bury uncollected bodies to avoid decomposition in mortuaries.