#Zimbabwe: ‘Bread basket of Africa’ under worst-ever drought, UN rushes for help

News Bharati    08-Aug-2019
Harare, August 8: Zimbabwe, once known as leading food producer in the region, one of the bread baskets of Africa, is now experiencing its worst-ever hunger crisis. The problems have exacerbated earlier this year after the striking of Cyclone Idai, affecting around 570,000 Zimbabweans, together with large parts of Mozambique and Malawi.

 
According to WFP, more than one-third of the rural population, or some 3.6 million people, will be food insecure by October, and by January the figure is expected to increase to 5.5 million during the inter-harvest season. Moreover, most of Zimbabwe’s 60 districts will exhaust their maize stocks by October. This accounts for 60 per cent of the rural population. 
In response to the crisis, the UN food relief agency has revised its humanitarian appeal to step up food assistance to people most affected by drought, flooding, and economic stagnation. The humanitarian community on Tuesday launched an urgent appeal for funds to respond to the country's very difficult humanitarian situation. 
The revised humanitarian appeal covers January 2019 through to April 2020, with a total requirement of $331.5 million need from this point onwards. the UN agency is providing food assistance to 700,000 people in August.
 
“when crop stocks decline, we will scale up for the season between harvests and help 1.7 million people in October-December and two million in January-April, but only if funding allows it”, World Food Programme (WFP) Spokesperson Herve Verhoosel said on Wednesday. 
WFP needs $173 million to implement its response plan in the next nine months consisting of a wide-ranging programme of humanitarian actions. The agency is asking the international community to quickly make the funds available.
“Climate shocks such as cyclones or drought also have an immediate impact, especially on the rural population”, underscored the WFP spokesperson, calling on the international community to ‘respond favorably to this request for funds to respond to this urgent situation.’