from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE World Food Programme (WFP) has appealed for an additional US$204 million (R3 billion) to support over four million of the most food-insecure Zimbabweans over the next six months.
WFP’s appeal comes amid millions of Zimbabweans devastated by a year of drought, rising hyperinflation and the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Ahead of the ‘lean’ season, some 6,9 million people -nearly half of Zimbabwe’s population- could be pushed into hunger by March next year.
That includes roughly one-third of the rural population and 2,3 million hungry urban dwellers.
Francesca Erdelmann, WFP Zimbabwe’s representative, said more than half of Zimbabweans in the rural areas were left no alternative but to skip meals, reduce portion size or sell off precious belongings in order to cope.
“We are deeply concerned that if WFP does not receive enough funding to reach the four million people it intends to, families will be further pushed to the limit,” Erdelmann said.
The funding would allow WFP to provide the minimum amount of emergency food assistance to the most vulnerable 3,5 million rural and 550 000 urban dwellers, complementing the response of Zimbabwe’s government and other partners.
At least 7,6 million people have reportedly fallen into poverty this year, which is a million more than in 2019, according to the recent Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee rural livelihoods assessment.
Hyperinflation has pushed the prices of basics beyond the means of most Zimbabweans.
COVID-19 has made it especially hard for poor families to afford a nutritious diet, with incomes drying up due to the lockdown.
– CAJ News