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WFP Revises Amount Needed for Zimbabwe Food Assistance Down to US$51 Million

Thousands of people are not food secure in Zimbabwe

The World Food Programme says it has revised slightly downwards the amount of money it is seeking to assist 850,000 of the 1,5 million Zimbabweans who are food insecure.

But the United Nations agency says to date it has raised about half the amount required.

WFP communications officer for southern Africa, David Orr, told Voice of America that they are no longer seeking US$56 million. “We estimate that we need about US$51 million to reach our case load which is about 850,000 people, they are among the most vulnerable.”

Orr said raising the money is still work in progress, “I believe we are approximately 50% resourced, which is certainly an improvement on the situation a few months ago and we are obviously still appealing to donors to come forward and help us.”

The development comes after government and other aid agencies stepped up their assistance to the vulnerable. Harare has put Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in charge of the food crisis.

Zimbabwe’s staple maize crop of 742,000 tonnes is down 53% from 2014-15, according to data from the South African Development Community.

The problems in Zimbabwe are being felt across the region known as the ‘maize belt’, making an estimated 27 million people 'food insecure' in southern Africa due to droughts, inadequate farming methods and political and economic instability.

Large quantities of maize will have to be imported because of the fall of about half in Zimbabwe's maize crop, which compares with a fall in output of 20 to 30% across the region.

According to the WFP, in recent years, food production in Zimbabwe has been devastated by a number of factors including natural disasters and economic and political instability.

Recurrent drought (due to increasingly erratic rainfall patterns), a series of poor harvests, high unemployment, restructuring of the agriculture sector and a high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate – at 14.7%, the fifth highest in the world - have all contributed to increasing levels of vulnerability and acute food insecurity since 2001.

This situation has necessitated large-scale humanitarian food relief operations in the country.

Interview With David Orr
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