By Phyllis Mbanje/Farai Matiashe
THE United Kingdom (UK) has urged the government of Zimbabwe to deliver the promised fundamental political and economic reforms.
Speaking during an announcement of a new UK Aid-supported £49 million (nearly US$60 million) humanitarian and resilience programme, international development secretary Alok Sharma said the government should also take responsibility for the humanitarian crisis affecting its people.
The food crisis is closely linked to the economic challenges in Zimbabwe, which has led to high unemployment and high inflation, he said.
“The UK stands with the people of Zimbabwe at a time when millions are at risk of starvation and disease. Through trusted partners, we will continue to give families access to food and clean water, and support children to gain a decent education,” he said.
Zimbabwe is facing a chronic food crisis as crops have been devastated by the effects of drought, economic crisis and a powerful cyclone.
Without support, more than 5,5 million people in Zimbabwe will not have access to the food they need by 2020.
Having already experienced outbreaks of cholera following the devastation of Cyclone Idai earlier this year, water shortages are also leaving the country more susceptible to further outbreaks as people struggle to find clean sources of drinking water.
UK Aid support will fund a new humanitarian and resilience programme in Zimbabwe that will start in October and run until September 2022.
It will assist up to 440 000 Zimbabweans who face potential starvation in rural and urban areas get access to food and water via the World Food Programme (WFP) through small cash transfers.
The aid will also support 300 000 vulnerable people to prepare for a potential cholera or typhoid outbreak by providing disease surveillance, essential medicine to treat water-borne diseases and training for local health workers to rapidly respond to outbreaks.
UK Aid’s donation follows this week’s WFP and the government’s revised humanitarian appeal of US$464 million to support 5,5 million people in need of food
after agricultural sector was affected by 2018 to 2019 El Nino-induced drought combined with the macro economic challenges currently facing the country.