5,3 million Zimbabweans need food aid: UN

BY BLESSED MHLANGA /RUTENDO MATANHIKE

The United Nations estimates that a total of 5,3 million Zimbabweans will need food aid and has started efforts to raise funds to bridge the food deficit to avert a massive humanitarian crisis.

In a press release, the UN said its humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock will be in Harare tomorrow, where he will launch the call for funding.

“The United Nations humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock will visit Zimbabwe from February 27 to March 1 to see the current humanitarian situation in the country. This visit will mark Mr Lowcock’s first visit to Southern Africa as emergency relief coordinator and under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs,” the UN said.

Lowcock will meet with senior government officials, the diplomatic community, humanitarian organisations and members of civil society during his working visit in Zimbabwe.

“Lowcock is also expected to meet with people in Epworth and Mudzi district, who have been affected the most by increasing food insecurity. Zimbabwe is facing rising humanitarian needs as a result of erratic rains and the economic challenges, with 5,3 million people estimated to be in urgent need of assistance,” the statement reads.

Together with the UN ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bishow Parajuli, on behalf of the Humanitarian Country Team, Lowcock will launch the Zimbabwe Flash Appeal on Thursday in Harare.

“The Flash Appeal calls on the international community to further contribute to the aid organisations’ efforts to save lives in response to Zimbabwe’s economic challenges and deteriorating humanitarian situations,” the UN said.

Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Larry Mavima has already indicated that nearly 50% of the crop in the province is a write-off owing to poor rains.

“We are in the process of assessing the crop situation in the province, but things are not looking good. We have to have a detailed report first before we can give out figures,” he said.

The drought comes amid a massive economic meltdown, which has left workers struggling to put food on the table amid high fuel prices.

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