Red Cross staves off hunger in Muzarabani

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About 944 drought-stricken villagers in Muzarabani district in Mashonaland Central province last week received cash and seed from the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS), as part of the organisation’s emergency appeal.

By Moses Mugugunyeki

In response to the current food insecurity in the country, ZRCS is implementing the emergency appeal with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The emergency appeal is targeting eight districts in the country namely, Kariba, Mudzi, Muzarabani, Mwenezi, Gwanda Rural, Lower Gweru, Chipinge and Binga.

Councillor for Maungaunga Ward in Muzarabani, Oliver Ururu expressed gratitude over the ZRCS support.

“It has come at an opportune time when most villagers have nothing to eat. Most villagers hardly have a meal a day,” he said.

“We encourage those benefitting from the cash transfers to buy basic foodstuffs and to those that got the seed should plant when it rains.”

Some villagers said they were crossing the border into Mozambique to do menial jobs in return for food or money.
“Hunger is forcing us to cross into Mozambique, where we do jobs like brick moulding and other small tasks. I am happy I am part of this programme and the money that I got will be used to buy food for my family,” a villager from Kapfupi Village in Maungaunga Ward said.

Recently, the ZRCS received support to cover three districts, which are Mudzi, Mwenezi and Chipinge through the IFRC support and has also received bilateral support from the Danish Red Cross to support Muzarabani and Kariba.

“The programme is mainly to support targeted households to meet their basic food needs through mobile cash transfer, as well as to ensure sustainability through water, sanitation and hygiene (Wash) and livelihoods support,” ZRCS secretary-general, Maxwell Phiri said.

The cash transfer support is meant to meet 70% of the food needs of each household. Each beneficiary is receiving $7 and the support has been capped to five members per household meaning that the maximum support is $35 per targeted household.

More than 24 600 beneficiaries across the country are receiving support from the ZRCS emergency food security intervention. ZRCS, with support from British Red Cross, is implementing the cash transfer programme as well as drought mitigation activities in Mudzi, Mwenezi and Chipinge Districts.