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Zimbabwe Government Widens Scope for NGO Food Assistance

Labor and Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche has authorized humanitarian aid organizations to widen their distribution of food aid beyond the most vulnerable populations, sources in Zimbabwe’s humanitarian aid community said.

An official at the Harare office of the U.S.-based organization World Vision said that a letter from Goche told such organizations that they could extend assistance so long as they did not create what Goche described as “a culture of dependency.”

Web news site ZimOnline said provincial governors also received Goche’s September 20 letter, which instructed them to allow the unimpeded distribution of food aid.

But when contacted, Bulawayo Governor Cain Mathema said he had received no such letter. He said a bumper harvest is expected, so food aid will not be needed.

Spokesman Fambai Ngirande of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the access aid organizations can obtain to needy populations varies by region.

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