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Hunger Warning Unit Sees 1.6 Million Zimbabweans at Risk Through End-2009

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network or FEWSNET says 1.6 million Zimbabweans - 600,000 in the cities - will need food aid through December of this year

About 1.6 million people in Zimbabwe risk going hungry and will need food assistance between now and the end of the year, the US based Famine Early Warning Systems Network said in a new food security assessment conducted in September.

About one million of those likely to require food distributions are in Zimbabwe's rural areas, the rest in the cities.

The report cites poverty and unemployment as factors in continuing food insecurity in the country, which has seen a series of bad maize harvests due to dislocation in the agricultural sector after a decade of land reform and chronic shortages of essential inputs such as seed and fertilizer.

Board member Peter Muchengeti of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that FEWSNET is on target as to the continuing inadequacy of food supplies.