The World Food Program said Wednesday that some 1.4 million Zimbabweans could need food aid between now and early 2007 when the next harvest comes in. But the number could rise as the projection is based on a survey of rural areas only.
The United Nations agency is mulling another survey focusing on the cities. The WFP said earlier this month that it had to scale back food assistance in Zimbabwe due to a funding shortfall, affecting some 450,000 children and other vulnerable people.
WFP officials said Southern African operations have been hurt by donor fatigue, with more global attention on Sudan’s suffering Darfur province. Southern African regional Director Amir Abdulla said he expects to see more deaths in Zimbabwe caused by malnutrition, though many of these will be attributed to the AIDS pandemic.
WFP public information officer Patricia Lucas gave reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe more details on the projections of food aid needs.
In Zimbabwe, Christian Care Deputy Director Nyika Musiyazviriyo said he considers it important to push ahead with assessment of food ad needs in the cities.