UN launches $331million Zimbabwe aid appeal

By Beauty Runako Slindiwa

The UN food agency on Tuesday launched a $331-million appeal for aid donations to feed millions of people in Zimbabwe amid economic hard ships facing the country.

Speaking at the launch of the appeal, WFP executive director David Beasley said 2.5 million Zimbabweans were in need of emergency food aid and the figure would increase.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP) “Around five million people, or a third of the 16 million Zimbabweans, are in need of aid and at least half of them are on the cusp of “starvation”.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a downturn for over a decade with perennial food shortages, a foreign currency crunch, scarcity of basic commodities, high unemployment and now a high cost in food.

The reeling food shortages may be as a result of the reeling drought attributed to the effects of climate change.

Additionally, to food shortages, the appeal also targeted the humanitarian needs of victims of Cyclone Idai which swept through parts of eastern Zimbabwe earlier this year. The cyclone affected 570 000 Zimbabweans and displaced some 50 000 of them and also affected parts of Malawi and Mozambique.

To assist with food shortages Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube last week said the government was feeding hundreds of thousands of people affected by drought both in rural and urban areas, providing grain to 757,000 households since January.