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United States Avails Over $60 Million for Zimbabwe's Lean Food Season

FILE: Villagers collect food aid distributed by the World Food Program (WFP) following a prolonged drought in rural Mudzi district, Zimbabwe, February 20, 2020. Picture taken February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will provide $60.55 million toward the World Food Programme’s 2020/21 Lean Season Food Assistance program in Zimbabwe.

The lean season assistance starts in August and nearly one million people will get assistance during the peak of the season, from January to April 2021.

Zimbabwe faces one of its worst food security crises in a decade due to the combined effects of failed economic and agricultural policies, corruption, consecutive poor agricultural seasons, the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian A. Nichols, said, “The United States remains committed to responding to the humanitarian situation, providing critical food assistance to Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable, while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining essential services.

World Food Program Zimbabwe Country Director and Representative, Niels Balzer, adds that “WFP would like to thank the American people for their generosity and steadfast commitment to the people of Zimbabwe at this critical time. Our Lean Season Assistance programme addresses the urgent food needs of the most vulnerable Zimbabweans, who are facing a triple threat of climate induced drought, economic crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In June, USAID announced an additional $10 million to ensure that nearly 100,000 people in eight urban areas have access to adequate food supplies between July and December 2020.

The United States remains the largest bilateral donor of emergency humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe. During the 2019/20 lean season, USAID provided more than $86.9 million to reach more than 1.8 million food insecure Zimbabweans in 22 rural districts throughout the country.

Since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, the United States has invested nearly $3.2 billion in Zimbabwe through projects, including initiatives to increase food security, support economic resilience, improve health outcomes, and promote democratic governance.

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