Govt launches US$500 million food aid appeal


GOVERNMENT in conjunction with the World Food Programme (WFP) and other international development partners yesterday launched a revised humanitarian appeal of almost US$500 million to assist people in need of food aid following a poor cropping season.

The previous flash appeal ran from January to June this year and partners contributed US$133 million, but the revised humanitarian appeal will now run from July 2019 to April 2020 and is targeting 3,7 million people while overall costs requirements amount to US$464 million.

Speaking at the humanitarian appeal event in Harare yesterday, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said the government was doing its best to support vulnerable citizens.

“We have to protect the vulnerable. When you assist us we are ready to meet you half way. We are doing our best to protect the vulnerable in this humanitarian appeal. We are ready with resources and institutions to receive any resources that you are helping us with,” he said.

He said the appeal was playing a significant role in supporting Zimbabwe as it was going through economic transformation, besides tackling the shocks of Cyclone Idai and El Nino-induced drought.

“This will go a long way in assisting, not only the vulnerable, but every Zimbabwean in achieving a sustainable upper middle income status by 2030,” Ncube said.

United Nations (UN) resident co-ordinator in Zimbabwe Bishow Parajuli said the revised humanitarian appeal was aimed at aiding the government’s programmes.

“With the need of food security, the UN and government saw the need to extend the appeal to 2020. Intensive effort is needed to tackle the economic challenges and as the UN we are committed to assist,” he said, adding that he was appealing to partners for their continued support at a time Zimbabwe was facing macro-economic challenges.

Speaking at the same event, WFP executive director David Beasley said his organisation and its partners were committed to assist Zimbabwe.

“Can Zimbabwe have a leadership which can take the country forward? We are ready to assist you. The people in Masvingo have hope and resilience. Partners, we have a lot of work to do. We won’t let you down,” he said.

United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols said America was pledging an additional US$45 million in food aid and cash transfers to the people in need of humanitarian food assistance.

European Union (EU) head of development co-operation Irene Giribaldi said the EU was providing an additional US$11 million to support those in need of humanitarian relief.

According to a Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC) report released last month, 5,5 million Zimbabweans are food insecure due to drought as well as the harsh economic environment.

The revision of the aid appeal comes as Social Welfare minister Sekai Nzenza said more people, other than the 59% recorded in the ZIMVAC report, are vulnerable.

Source : NewsDay

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