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WFP Seeking $56 Million to Feed 850,000 Starving Zimbabweans

More than 1,5 million Zimbabweans need food aid.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a $56 million appeal to feed about 850,000 of the estimated 1, 5 million Zimbabweans facing starvation this year.

The UN agency says it has also noted an unusually high number of Zimbabwean children with stunted growth.

The WFP shockingly noted that 56% of all children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years suffer from anemia in the country.

The cash-strapped Harare has put Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in charge of the food crisis, who has assured the nation no-one will starve.

But several letters written to Studio 7 by listeners indicate that the food situation in the country is getting desperate.

WFP communications officer for southern Africa, David Orr, told VOA Studio 7 that the a food crisis situation is developing in Zimbabwe.

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, a series of poor harvests, high unemployment (estimated at more than 90%), restructuring of the agriculture sector and a high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate – at 14.7 per cent, 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. But donor fatigue has hit many humanitarian appeals lately. UN agencies like the WFP have also been affected.