Swiss funds to aid needy Zimbabwe urban dwellers

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from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) SWITZERLAND has provided US$7 million (R102 million) to assist millions of Zimbabweans facing economic problems and climatic disasters.

The new funding, through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), will go directly towards assisting families living in urban areas.

Funds have been made available to the World Food Programme (WFP).

“Zimbabwe’s urban communities are thriving with potential to be food secure, only they are severely hampered by frequent weather and economic shocks and now the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said WFP representative Francesca Erdelmann.

Zimbabwe is enduring economic crises and emerges from a series of floods and droughts, blamed on climate change.

The southern African nation is also battling an outbreak of the COVID-19, which has claimed the lives of 1 444 people from 35 910 cases.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated Zimbabwe’s economic instability.

The government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa currently estimates that about half of all urban dwellers – or roughly 2,2 million people – go to bed hungry.

Manuel Thurnhofer, SDC Director of Cooperation in Zimbabwe, said the timely contribution to WFP would help alleviate the suffering of a large number of people in Zimbabwe’s urban areas.

He said in most urban households, women and children were generally the first to suffer economic and social hardships.

“We are pleased that in the project areas, they will directly benefit from this support,” Thurnhofer said.

WFP already delivers monthly cash transfers to 326 000 Zimbabweans.

It plans to scale up its urban assistance programme to reach at least 550 000.

– CAJ News

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