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More people in Zimbabwe could require emergency food aid

by Staff reporter
14 Feb 2024 at 04:45hrs | Views
The World Food Program (WFP) on Tuesday warned that more people in Zimbabwe will likely require emergency food aid during the 2024/2025 lean season due to the impact of El Nino.

Although the level of food insecurity in the country will be determined by June this year, the implications of El Nino may likely be profound and multifaceted, WFP Representative and Country Director in Zimbabwe Francesca Erdelmann said at a signing ceremony for emergency food assistance.

The lean season in Zimbabwe typically starts in October and reaches its peak between January and March. It is a time when communities, particularly in rural areas, do not have enough food to feed themselves.

In this current lean season, 2.7 million people in rural Zimbabwe out of the country's total population of 16 million people are food insecure, according to a livelihoods assessment done by the government.

The Zimbabwean government, working jointly with the WFP, has started emergency food distribution to vulnerable households throughout the country.

Erdelmann said the upcoming 2024/2025 lean season could see more people in the country requiring food assistance due to the impact of El Nino, warning that lower harvests and fewer livelihood opportunities will likely culminate in a deeper and earlier 2024/2025 lean season.

"With erratic rainfall, diminished harvests, and fewer livelihood opportunities, vulnerable communities could face uncertainty and the grim reality of depleted food stocks and increased susceptibility to hunger," she said.

She said the UN agency will work with the Zimbabwean government to come up with a collective response plan on the impact of El Nino, aiming to provide immediate relief while also jointly investing in fostering resilience and sustainable solutions for communities in need.

Erdelmann noted that although Zimbabwe has invested heavily in dam construction, its irrigation capacity remained low, which negates its capacity to respond to climate-induced droughts.

Over the years, the WFP has not only been providing humanitarian food assistance to Zimbabwe but resilience building as well, as part of its long-term solutions to persistent food insecurity and bolster communities' ability to withstand future shocks.

In Zimbabwe, Erdelmann said their resilience building program started in 2011, and some of the programs have started to bear positive results in terms of boosting household food security.

She said some of the districts in the country that were previously categorized as most food insecure are now being regarded by the government as less food insecure due to the various WFP-backed livelihood programs.

Source - Xinhua
More on: #Food, #WFP, #Drought