Southern Africa: Zimbabwe Among Hungriest Nations in the World

Women from Zimbabwe’s Lupane District invest the profits of their craft sales in ‘keyhole’ gardens to ensure food security.

The World Food Programme (WFP) says Zimbabwe's hunger is now rated among the worst humanitarian crises in the world and is competing for resources with hardest hit countries globally.

Zimbabwe has plunged into a worse humanitarian crisis as a result of the El Niño-induced drought where half the country's population is in urgent need of food aid this year.

WFP deputy country director Niels Balzar told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the United Nations (UN) agency had since scaled up its humanitarian appeal and requires US$200 million to feed vulnerable Zimbabweans.

"We are in a big humanitarian situation here and I think this is really fundamental. If you look at the numbers, we are up there with other global humanitarian crisis and we are competing for obviously for limited funding. I do think that the situation here warrants that we receive necessary support as soon as possible to the tune of the US$200 million," Balzar said.

According to the WFP, a total of 5,5 million rural Zimbabweans and 2,2 million people in urban areas were facing chronic food shortages, with the agency looking to scale up intervention during the peak of the lean season. The lean season runs from January to April.

Balzar said the WFP was worried about the hunger situation in most districts whose effects have been compounded by the worsening economic crisis where the Zimbabwean dollar has continued on a freefall since introduction in June last year.

"As WFP, we are very worried about the situation on the ground. As you would probably know, the latest assessments that were done in 2019 shows that almost half of the population, 8 million people, are in need of some form of assistance during the peak of the lean season. The peak of the lean season is January all the way up to March, April where most people have run out of food and hunger is at its peak," Balzar said.

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