By Anyway Yotamu.
HARARE – The United Kingdom (UK) government has set aside US$ 5.4 million towards feeding around 110 000 food insecure people in Zimbabwe as part of its 47 million pounds relief fund targeting some of the world’s poverty-hit countries.
The United Nations World Food Program will implement the relief program on behalf of the UK government which will see the vulnerable receive monthly cash transfers or electronic vouchers worth 12 USD per person which can be redeemed in supermarkets.
“Zimbabwe is facing a humanitarian crisis which has been compounded by a deteriorating economy and the COVID-19 pandemic. This extra UK aid support will mean people can feed their families and prevent the crises from escalating. We hope to see other donors step up to the plate with some extra funding to support the people of Zimbabwe through this difficult time,” said Zimbabwe’s Development Director for the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Other countries set to benefit from the 47 million pounds are the Sahel, Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Mozambique.
According to the most recent national data, 5.6 million people—nearly half of Zimbabwe’s population may be pushed into hunger by its March peak.
That includes roughly one-third of the rural population, who are expected to face “crisis” or “emergency” levels of hunger, and 2.2 million hungry urban dwellers.
“We are so grateful for our partnership with the UK’s FCDO. This generous and timely contribution from the people of the United Kingdom will go a long way to relieve the hunger burden on Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable urban population. WFP and the humanitarian community are facing a shortage of funding, and this contribution will ensure we can continue to save lives at this critical time when the grip of COVID-19 on the country is tightening and putting people’s livelihoods on the line,” said Francesca Erdelmann, Country Director and Representative of the World Food Programme.
Despite anticipating better harvests later this year owing to improved rainfall, much of the country’s population is still reeling from two successive droughts that affected food production.
This new funding is part of a wider £40.4 million Zimbabwe Humanitarian and Resilience Programme (ZHARP) which, through the World Food Programme, has since November 2019 provided food aid and cash transfers to the poorest and most vulnerable Zimbabweans.
To date, 413,000 extremely vulnerable people have received food assistance and 100,000 living in urban areas have received cash transfers.
In the future the UK plans to support on average 156,000 people in 3 rural areas during the lean season with in-kind food assistance up to the next harvest expected in April 2021.