Lusaka — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a EUR 5 million contribution from the European Union (EU) that will help provide cash assistance to 655,000 food insecure people in urban areas of Zambia. These vulnerable communities have been strongly affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19 and would struggle to get by over the next few months without that crucial support.
"COVID-19 has disrupted the ability of thousands of poor city families traditionally reliant on daily labour and informal trading to earn a living," said Jennifer Bitonde, WFP's Representative in Zambia. "With food prices on the rise, the constant struggle to meet basic needs is now much tougher - and becoming more so."
WFP has been reaching poor families in parts of Lusaka and Kafue with relatively high infection rates. The EU funding will enable it to extend its assistance to two more cities, Livingstone and Kitwe, with a view to reaching 655,000 people overall. Each beneficiary family will receive ZMW 400 (EUR 18.5) a month for six months to help cover their food needs.
"The EU and its Member States are among the world's leading donors of humanitarian aid, and in these difficult times, we are stepping up our efforts to continue providing help where it is most needed. With our contribution to these humanitarian efforts by WFP, the EU again demonstrates its solidarity with the most vulnerable people in Zambia who are bearing the brunt of this epidemic", said Pascal Mounier, Head of the EU's Humanitarian Aid Regional Office in Kinshasa.
WFP is prioritizing those who depend on the informal sector as well as the elderly, people living with disabilities and the chronically ill, who cannot meet their food needs due to rising prices and income losses.
"WFP is grateful to the European Union for coming to the aid of poor urban households during this challenging time," said Ms Bitonde. "This contribution is very timely, as many Zambians are emerging from a two-year drought that has severely undermined national food security."