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Mnangagwa declares drought a national disaster

by Staff reporter
03 Apr 2024 at 18:15hrs | Views
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced a state of emergency due to the ongoing drought gripping Zimbabwe, marking it as the third African nation to do so after Zambia and Malawi.

Speaking from the State House, Mnangagwa addressed the media on Wednesday, highlighting a grain deficit of 680,000 tons and the dire need for food aid for over 2.7 million people. The delay in planting staple grains in Zimbabwe was attributed to high temperatures, decreased rainfall, and dry spells caused by the El Niño phenomenon, which significantly impacted agricultural yields.

El Niño, a natural climate occurrence characterized by unusually warm surface waters in the central and eastern Pacific, has disrupted global weather patterns. The forecast for 2023-2024 indicates drier-than-average rainfall, exacerbating the situation.

Mnangagwa declared a nationwide State of Disaster in response to the El Niño-induced drought, emphasizing the need for urgent measures and interventions outlined in the country's laws. He stated that a grain deficit of nearly 680,000 metric tons will be filled through imports, with measures in place to encourage private sector participation. Ensuring food security for all Zimbabweans was highlighted as a top priority, with no one left to suffer from hunger.

The government plans to import grain to address rising food insecurity levels, as only 868,273 metric tons are expected from the current harvest, with 356,000 tons in reserve. Additionally, efforts will be made to bolster wheat-based food security by expanding winter crop cultivation on irrigable land.

Mnangagwa underscored the need for over US$2 billion to address various aspects of the crisis and appealed to the diaspora community, United Nations agencies, and humanitarian organizations for assistance.

The drought has also led to a decline in power generation, primarily reliant on hydro-electricity, prompting a shift towards solar energy to sustain businesses.

Source - newzimbabwe