- "By year’s end, the number of food insecure Zimbabweans will have surged by almost 50 percent to touch 8.6 million."
- The hyperinflation characteristic of the deep economic crisis in the country, has put the commodity prices beyond the reach of many Zimbabweans.
- WFP is promoting the planting of alternative, drought-resistant, nutritious crops, such as sorghum and millet.
The World Food Program (WFP) today asked for aid of an additional $250 million for an “emergency operation” to combat hunger in Zimbabwe, which will likely affect 60% of the population by the end of this year. WFP says that the Coronavirus pandemic has aggravated an already serious hunger crisis in Zimbabwe.
As per the WFP estimates, “by year’s end, the number of food insecure Zimbabweans will have surged by almost 50 percent to touch 8.6 million – a staggering 60 percent of the population – owing to the combined effects of drought, economic recession and the pandemic.”
“Many Zimbabwean families are suffering the ravages of acute hunger, and their plight will get worse before it gets better,” said Lola Castro, the WFP Regional Director for Southern Africa. “We need the international community to step up now to help us prevent a potential humanitarian catastrophe.”
If donations allow, WFP is set to help 4 million people, the most vulnerable this year and increase to 5 million in the period from January to April next year.
The confinement at national level, reinforced last week has led to unemployment rates in urban areas, while rural hunger is accelerating and the return of unemployed migrants to the villages, and the lack of money to spend means that hunger will be felt “more intensely” in those areas.
Families living on subsistence agriculture, which make up three-quarters of Zimbabwe’s population and produce most of their food, are also suffering from a third consecutive poor harvest as a result of drought that hit Zimbabwe this year.
The WFP elaborated that Zimbabwe yielded only 1.1 million MT of maize, the staple cereal, well down on last year’s already poor 2.4 million MT and less than half the national requirement. This, in turn, presages even more severe hunger in early 2021, the peak of the next “lean” season.
The hyperinflation characteristic of the deep economic crisis in the country, has put the commodity prices beyond the reach of many Zimbabweans. For example, last month, corn prices more than doubled prices in Harare, the country’s capital.
Therefore, increasingly desperate families are eating less, selling precious goods and getting into debt, read the statement.
With corn becoming an increasingly unsustainable crop in many arid regions of the country, as temperatures rise, WFP is promoting the planting of alternative, drought-resistant, nutritious crops, such as sorghum and millet. This action is part of a broader campaign to help vulnerable communities to build resilience to increasingly frequent and severe climate shocks.
This month, due to lack of funding, WFP will no longer be able to support 700,000 of the estimated 1.8 million beneficiaries of its aid, the statement concluded.
The pandemic of COVID-19 has caused more than 667,000 dead and infected over 17 million people in 196 countries and territories, according to a report prepared by the French agency, AFP. The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus, detected in late December in Wuhan, China.
In Africa, there are 18,884 confirmed deaths in almost 893,000 infected in 54 countries, according to the most recent statistics on the pandemic in the continent.