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  • More than 7 million people in Zimbabwe need urgent help after unprecedent economic crisis and drought

    More than 7 million people in Zimbabwe need urgent help after unprecedent economic crisis and drought | Photo: WFP

Published 3 December 2019

Nearly US$300 million are urgently needed to provide 240,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe, which is in the biggest economic crisis in decades.

About half of Zimbabwe’s population faces severe hunger amid a devastating drought and economic collapse, the United Nations warned Tuesday.

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The World Food Program said it that in total, 5.5 million people in the countryside and 2.2 million in urban areas need help, and acute malnutrition has risen from 2.5 percent last year to 3.6 percent.

Nearly US$300 million are urgently needed to provide 240,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe, which is in the biggest economic crisis in decades, according to WFP spokeswoman Bettina Luescher.

Luecher's statements come after a U.N.-appointed independent expert Hilal Elver said a week ago that the country, once seen as the breadbasket of Africa, is now in the grip of "man-made starvation."

The WFP expert explained that "a climate disaster" and an "economic collapse" are responsible for the current crisis, with normal rains recorded in just one of the last five growing seasons.

The rainy season is increasingly unreliable and particularly affects subsistence farmers, as they grow corn, a crop that needs a lot of water, and many of them are still recovering from the drought caused by El Niño between 2014 and 2015.

In addition, "the crisis is exacerbated by runaway inflation, rising unemployment, lack of fuel, prolonged blackouts and large-scale livestock losses, affecting both urban and rural villagers," Luescher added.

WFP has almost doubled humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe in an attempt to reach more than four million of the people most affected by the crisis.

Related to this, deaths of children from severe malnutrition have been increasing in recent months and 90 percent of Zimbabwean children aged six to 24 months are not consuming the minimum acceptable diet.

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