BY VANESSA GONYE
JAPAN has given Zimbabwe US$8,6 million in emergency funding to support vulnerable people who have been most affected by the humanitarian crisis in the country.
In a statement yesterday, the Asian country said the support is targeting close to six million citizens affected by hunger.
“There are currently an estimated 5,6 million people who are severely food insecure, both in rural and urban areas as a result of consecutive droughts and a dire economic situation which has been exacerbated by COVID-19,” part of the statement read.
The assistance will be channelled through the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The funding seeks to address the basic needs of the most vulnerable.
“Firstly, US$4,5 million in funding will provide emergency food assistance to food insecure households in urban areas, through WFP,” the Japanese embassy further said.
“It will especially focus on women-led households, people with disabilities, and people living with HIV, in order to ensure that they are able to meet their basic food and nutrition needs.
“The funding will cover the urgent food needs of 56 000 people, who will receive monthly electronic vouchers (e-vouchers) for food valued at US$ 12 per person.”
Japan will, in another project with WFP, also provide US$1,25 million to support communities in Mt Darwin and Matobo districts with immediate food assistance, while at the same time they construct weir dams and nutrition gardens, to increase their resilience to drought and thus ensure their food security in the future.
This project is expected to assist 11 080 vulnerable people.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a rise in neonatal and maternal mortality and that prompted the government of Japan to extend US$1,3 million to improve the delivery of emergency and neonatal care for women at health institutions in Harare and Bulawayo, in a project implemented by UNFPA.
“The project will include provision of essential equipment, including personal protective equipment and new ambulances to decrease delays in transportation of expectant mothers, as well as strengthening infection prevention and control measures. An estimated 60 000 women will be reached through the interventions,” the embassy said.
Further funding of US$ 1 078 372 will provide a comprehensive set of life-saving nutrition, health, HIV/Aids, gender-based violence (GBV) and education interventions to vulnerable women and children in 32 districts of Zimbabwe, through Unicef.
“It will include the screening and treatment of young children for acute malnutrition, the training of health workers on care for patients with HIV, support for victims of GBV, and provision of home-learning materials for vulnerable learners.”
“Finally, Japan has committed US$500 427 to improve food security, safe water access and health care for vulnerable communities in Gokwe South and Gokwe North districts, in a project implemented by IFRC. The project will provide solar-powered boreholes, establish nutrition gardens, and provide seeds and agricultural inputs benefitting 4 000 households.”
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