Zimbabwe: The One Million People Struggle for Food

Human Wrongs Watch

Harare – More than one million Zimbabweans will struggle for food between now and March, the United Nations reported.

Food on sale at a market in Harare | Credit: UN

The UN World Food Programme (WFP), which has already begun assisting the most vulnerable but needs $42 million to fund its activities in the Southern African nation.

Most of the vulnerable households are located in the southern and western regions, which are very susceptible to dry spells. And most at risk are low-income families hit by failed harvests, and households with orphans and vulnerable children.

Although food is generally available in many rural areas, it is too expensive for those with limited resources,” WFP said.

Families Skipping Meals

Failed harvests and the economic downturn have led to a situation where around 12 per cent of the rural population will not have the means to feed themselves adequately during what is known as the lean season”, the WFP reported on 21 November 2011. 

Agricultural production in these regions was once again poor this season,” said WFP Country Director Felix Bamezon. “The situation is made worse by the economic downturn and we’re already seeing families resorting to skipping meals and reducing portion sizes.”

The agency and its partners have started providing targeted assistance to bridge the lean season gap through in-kind food distributions, cash transfers and food vouchers.

WFP has secured funds to launch the response, but needs additional funds to keep it going.

Its Health & Nutrition Programme, geared towards malnourished, chronically-ill people on anti-retroviral treatment and their households, is also facing a funding shortfall. (Source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=40469&Cr=zimbabwe&Cr1=)

Some Facts About Zimbabwe

With a total population estimated at 13 million and a total surface of 390,757 km2, Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. Water covers 1 percent of it surface.

Zimbabwe is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. The country has three official languages: English, Shona and Ndebele.

Its per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated at around 400 dollars. According to the Human Development Index, Zimbabwe is the 15th least developed country in the world.

2011 Human Wrongs Watch

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