The European Union (EU) has announced that it has mobilised an additional US$18.7 million to help address emergency food needs in Zimbabwe.
This comes at a time when the country has received its lowest 2019-2020 seasonal rainfall which was characterised by flash floods and winds leaving many people in need of food aid.
According to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), nearly 8 million people in Zimbabwe need food aid due to drought and harsh economic crisis.
Besides Zimbabwe, the EU said 12 million people in the region are at risk of hunger because of extended periods of below-average rainfall, interspersed with floods, on top of the economic challenges that some countries in the region are grappling with.
EU said the funding comes as large parts of the country and the wider region of Southern Africa are in the grip of the harshest drought in decades.
“The European Union has mobilised an additional 16.8 million EUR (approx.18.7million USD) to help address emergency food needs and support vulnerable people in Zimbabwe.
“The funding comes as large parts of the country and the wider region of Southern Africa are in the grip of the harshest drought in decades, which is compounded in Zimbabwe by governance challenges and a worsening economic situation,” said EU.
Announcing the food aid package for the region, the EU’s Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič said many poor households in drought-affected areas in Southern African countries are struggling to have enough food due to crop failure.
“Many poor households in drought-affected areas in Southern African countries are struggling to have enough food due to crop failure, reduced access to water and, in some places, unaffordable food prices in markets.
“EU humanitarian aid will help deliver food to those most in need and tackle the hunger crisis in fragile rural communities,” he said.
The funding which is part of a larger support package of over US$24.5 Million will also go a long way in improving the basic health care, clean water and provide protection to counter the risks that people’s fragility exposes them to in Zimbabwe.
“In addition to providing food and nutrition, the funds will improve access to basic health care and clean water, and provide protection to counter the risks that people’s fragility exposes them to. The funding of Zimbabwe is part of a larger support package of over 22 million EUR (over 24.5 million USD,” said the Union.
The Union said the remaining amount will also be channelled to providing food assistance and nutrition support to other areas such as Eswatini, Madagascar, Lesotho, and Zambia.
EU added that since 2019 they have allocated a total of US$75.75 Million for humanitarian across the region, with the bulk of funds going to emergency relief assistance such as cyclone Idai.
“The Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region as a whole is prone to natural disasters and oscillates between droughts and floods that are destroying harvests and further weakening fragile communities.
“Since January 2019, the EU has allocated a total of 67.95million pounds (approx.75.75 million USD) for humanitarian assistance across the region.
“The bulk of this funding went for emergency relief assistance in the wake of natural disasters (Cyclone Idai and Kenneth) food assistance and helping at-risk communities equip themselves better to face climate-related disasters,” said the EU.