Villagers and political leaders in five Zimbabwean provinces devastated by drought say many are living on one meal a day due to poor harvests in the last growing season for maize, the ground meal of which is a staple food for most Zimbabweans.
They said government and donor agencies need to launch food distribution in most parts of the western Matabeleland region and parts of Masvingo, Midlands and Manicaland provinces where the situation has become desperate.
Sources said hunger is widespread in parts of Matabeleland North and South, Midlands, Masvingo and Manicaland provinces.
Midlanders said they hope the government will take action following a recent assessment of the food security situation in the region by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Villager Sikholiwe Ndebele of Sidingunana, Insiza district, Matabeleland North province, said some residents are surviving by selling thatching grass, others by begging.
In Midlands, Lower Gweru villager Obert Ncube said donor agencies must act urgently to avert starvation in parts of the province. “We have people here being supported by their children who are employed in various nations, a few getting little food handouts from donor agencies and the majority struggling to have a meal a day,” Ncube said.
Lawmaker Thandeko Zinti Mnkandla said villagers may start to die in some parts of Matabeleland South if the authorities do not take action.
“We are soon going to have some deaths occurring as we are reaching hunger levels almost similar to the famine [in]the Horn of Africa, though on a lesser scale," he said.