THE Japanese government has donated $5,7 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to feed Zimbabweans facing food shortages due to drought.
Report by Blondie Ndebele Own correspondent
The donation comes amid reports that there will be severe food shortages in the country between January and March next year. In a statement, WFP said there are estimates of 1,6 million vulnerable people in Zimbabwe and that one in every five persons of the rural population will be facing severe food shortages early next year.
WFP country director Felix Bamezon said WFP was assisting most people in need of food handouts and the Japanese government donation came at a critical time.
“This donation will allow us to scale up operations and ensure that vulnerable families in drought-stricken areas — including orphans and people living with HIV and Aids — continue to receive food and cash assistance in the difficult months before the next harvest in April,” he said.
Bamezon said some 300 000 people will receive cash to enable them to buy cereals from local markets. Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Yonezo Fukuda, said his country will make more donations until the situation in Zimbabwe improved.
“We are pleased with the contributions we make to WFP,” he said. “We would ensure that this becomes an ongoing donation to Zimbabwe until the food situation stabilises.”
Japan is among some of the donors that have been contributing to WFP’s operations in Zimbabwe for the past years. Bamezon said even though they had donors that were contributing to WFP’s life-saving operations in Zimbabwe, “more resources are still required to assist the most vulnerable”.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.
Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.