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U.S. Unveils $20 Million for Zimbabwe's Drought Relief

FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2008 file photo, children and their parents pick corn kernels spilled on the roadside by trucks ferrying corn imported from South Africa, in Masvingo 239 kilometers (148.5 miles) south of Harare. As the season of hunger and disease

The United States on Friday unveiled an additional $20 million in funding for the World Food Program’s humanitarian endeavors to ease hunger in Zimbabwe, where 4 million people are in dire need of aid.

Announcing the package, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) director in Harare, Stephanie Funk, pledged her country’s commitment to continue “working with WFP to meet the immediate food needs of vulnerable Zimbabweans.”

The contribution brought the U.S. total funding towards drought relief in Zimbabwe to $55 million since June 2015 and $2, 6 billion in the past 30 years, or so.

WFP Country Director, Eddie Rowe called the USAID overture “generous,” adding the money will allow the aid agency to “continue food assistance for 450,000 people in 12 districts over the next six months.”

Rowe's sentiments were echoed by UN Communications Specialist, Sirak Gebrehiwot.

Some 100,000 children under the age of 5 are acutely undernourished, and the number will likely increase, USAID said.

In Kariba, a UNICEF team came face-to-face with the horrors of hunger during a tour of clinics and hospitals to assess the level of malnutrition among children, a foreign correspondent embedded with the team told VOA.

"Malnourished children are stunted children, that’s what it means,” said humanitarian expert Everson Ndlovu. “They grow up with health problems because their immune system is compromised.”

Elsewhere, the European Union and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) signed an agreement aimed at improving food and livelihoods security and resilience of smallholder livestock farmers in Zimbabwe.