The World Food Program has determined that about four million people in Zimbabwe need food aid. But that preliminary result of a WFP assessment close to completion was based on data gathered before Operation Murambatsvina, the government’s controversial crackdown on makeshift housing. Estimates of how many people it has left homeless range up to 1.5 million.
Meanwhile, the U.S.-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network says the crackdown on informal sector vendors is constraining the flow of maize through alternative channels. But in the meantime the Grain Marketing Board monopoly grain distributor has not increased supplies to offset the distribution shortfall. Forced migration back to rural areas further complicates the situation.
The vulnerability assessment study set for completion next week indicates that about 300 to 400-thousand tons of grain are needed in Zimbabwe, according to World Food Program spokesman Mike Huggins.
Mr. Huggins added that his agency is preparing to feed the thousands of families displaced by government home demolitions – but is awaiting the findings of the special envoy of the UN Secretary General before launching its effort.