WFP calls for urgent international support for Zimbabweans
With unprecedented hyperinflation having pushed the prices of staples beyond the means of most Zimbabweans, increasingly desperate families are eating less, selling off precious belongings and going into debt.
With Zimbabwe’s already severe climate- and recession-induced hunger crisis deepening and COVID-19 taking hold, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) urgently needs US$130 million to sustain through August an emergency operation to prevent millions of the country’s most vulnerable people plunging deeper into hunger.
A recent nationwide assessment – the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) – shows that the number of acutely food insecure Zimbabweans has risen to 4.3 million, from 3.8 million at the end of last year.
“With most Zimbabweans already struggling to put food on the table, the COVID pandemic risks even wider and deeper desperation,” said Eddie Rowe, WFP’s Country Director. “We must all do our utmost to prevent this tragedy turning into a catastrophe.”
The total number of food insecure people stands at 7.7 million, more than half the population. The US$130 million being urgently sought by WFP is part of a total food assistance sector requirement of US$472 million through December.
WFP warns that COVID-19 threatens to exacerbate Zimbabwe’s dire economic and hunger crises, drastically affecting the lives of people in both urban and rural areas. WFP has a critical role to play by sustaining its scaled-up food assistance programme – and must be able to deliver at full capacity – while supporting the country’s response to the pandemic.