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Mugabe Declares State of Disaster as Severe Drought Grips Zimbabwe

A Zimbabwean subsistence farmer holds a stunted maize cob in his field outside Harare, January 20, 2016.

President Robert Mugabe has finally declared a state of disaster following a severe drought worsened by unprecedented high temperatures that have affected most parts of the country.

Local Government Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, on Thursday night released a statement on behalf of Mr. Mugabe declaring the state of disaster with effect from February 2, 2016.

Opposition legislators have been calling for President Mugabe to make the declaration since last year when it became apparent that the country was not going to meet its food requirements after harvesting only 700,000 tonnes of grain against a national requirement of 1,8 million tonnes.

Three million people are in dire need of food and the figure is expected to rise because rains have been scarce this season.

Agronomist, Mandla Mkomo, told VOA Studio 7 that the declaration of a state of disaster, although coming late, would make it easier for local and international organizations to mobilize resources.

"The declaration itself is useful but I think in my view it's coming a bit too late because if we had done it a year ago people could have included us in their plan in as far as mobilizing resources is concerned," he said.

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