2.4 Million Face Hunger, WFP Ready To Assist

World Food Programme (WFP) has projected that more than 2.4 million rural Zimbabweans will likely face critical hunger and be food insecure during the lean season from January through March due to an expected El Niño. 

WFP said Zimbabwe would need $71.2 million for the planned response, with $22 million already raised, largely from USAID.

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee’s 2018 Rural Livelihoods Assessment Report suggested thamore than 2.4 million rural Zimbabweans are expected to face critical hunger. 

The WFP’s statement follows a report by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network which said poor families in arid areas of Zimbabwe are running out of food.

However, the United Nations agency said it is preparing to provide food aid to 1.1 million Zimbabweans before the next harvest in 2019, as rural smallholders face shortages. 

” WFP plans to address the most urgent food security needs of 1,135,500 people during the peak of the 2018-19 lean season,” said the agency’s Zimbabwe spokesperson Ashley Baxstrom. 

“Vulnerable groups are always disproportionately affected by adverse conditions (and) shocks.”

Growing food prices and the country’s dire economic state could also affect those living in urban areas, the UN food agency added.

The WFP’s statement follows a report by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network which said poor families in arid areas of Zimbabwe are running out of food.

“These food security outcomes are expected to persist through March 2019,” said the network on its website.

Livestock conditions were also deteriorating across the country due to water shortages and poor pasture, it added.

Zimbabwe is battling an economic crisis that includes cash shortages, high unemployment and lack of investment which has caused the cost of imported food to soar.

Meanwhile, new evidence continues to signal that the number of hungry people in the world is growing, reaching 821 million in 2017 or one in every nine people, according to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018.

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