WASHINGTON DC —
The World Food Program (WFP) reports that hunger is on the rise in Zimbabwe with an estimated 2.2 million people – that is one in four people in the rural communities - expected to need food assistance during the pre-harvest period early next year.
The predicted hunger was published by Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC) which estimates food security levels and identifies affected areas.
ZIMVAC says the recent estimate is the highest predicted food insecurity since early 2009 when more than half the population required food aid.
The WFP says many districts, particularly in the south, harvested little during the last season and have already exhausted or will soon exhaust their grain stocks. Many people are now relying on purchasing grain, which it says is costing more than last year.
World Food Program spokeswoman Victoria Cavanagh says increased food insecurity is due to unfavorable conditons including poor rains, flooding in some areas and a prolonged mid-season dry spell.
Cavanagh says the organization will continue its food for work programme, implementing community projects that "increase their ability to cope with recurrent shocks such as droughts."
The WFP is expected to scale up its food aid distribution from October until harvest time in March next year, targeting the peak hunger months from January.
WPF is expecting to assist 1.8 million food insecure people during the upcoming season.