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WFP Provides Food Aid to Over 2.7 million Zimbabweans

The United Nations World Food Program is collaborating with Zimbabwe’s government and humanitarian agencies to feed 2.7 million villagers affected by the El Niño weather phenomenon, which is causing a drought in southern Africa.

Food shortages, which put nearly 20% of Zimbabwe’s population at risk of famine, are caused by poor harvests in drought-ravaged areas where people rely on small-scale agriculture for survival. El Nino is projected to exacerbate the problem by causing below-average rainfall this year, according to Francesca Erdelmann, WFP’s country director for Zimbabwe.

El Nino is a natural, periodic weather phenomena that warms portions of the Pacific and influences weather patterns all across the world. This has varying effects based on the region. When rains fail or arrive late, it has a big impact, Erdelmann stated during a press conference.

In Zimbabwe, the lean season lasts from January to March, during which rural households go hungry while waiting for the next harvest. More than 60 percent of Zimbabwe’s 15 million inhabitants live in rural areas. Their lives are increasingly being impacted by a cycle of drought and flooding exacerbated by climate change.

Droughts are getting increasingly prolonged and severe. For decades, Zimbabwe’s rainy season was consistent from October to March. It has become erratic in recent years, sometimes beginning in December and concluding early.

Zimbabwe, formerly a grain producer, has become largely reliant on international aid to feed its population in recent years. Agricultural production also declined drastically following the takeover of white-owned farms by former President Robert Mugabe in 2000, although it has begun to recover.

The United States Agency for International Development, the US government’s foreign aid agency, estimates that 20 million people in Africa and Australia would require food aid between January and March, based on its network of famine early warning systems. El Niño is expected to increase food insecurity in Zimbabwe, southern Malawi, Mozambique, and southern Madagascar until early 2025, according to USAID.

Erdelmann said WFP received an $11 million grant from USAID.

Zimbabwe’s government claims that the country has grain reserves to last until October, but it admits that many people who have failed to harvest enough grain and are too poor to buy food on the market are in desperate need of assistance.

According to USAID, prices for basic food items are soaring across the region, limiting people’s capacity to sustain themselves even more.

Zimbabwe has previously acknowledged suffering the consequences of El Nino in other locations, including the deaths of 100 elephants in a drought-hit wildlife park late last year.

Written by PH

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