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Nesia Mhaka Herald Correspondent
The number of people requiring food aid has grown by 11 percent from the same period last year, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza has said.
Poor harvests for most families due to drought and Cyclone Idai have exposed many to food insecurity.
“Our projection of the number of people who will need food aid has gone up by 11 percent from last year and this number has gone up to 2,4 million,” said Dr Nzenza.
She said Government was providing food aid to over 700 000 people, adding that they were working with donors to provide food assistance.
“The Government through my ministry has mandated us to provide food aid to needy communities,” said Dr Nzenza.
“Currently, we are providing 756 980 households with food aid, but we estimate that there are about 900 000 households in need of food aid.”
Dr Nzenza said the ministry had also started distributing aid to urban areas, with the programme presently being implemented in Harare and Bulawayo. Plans are underway to spread the programme to other urban centres.
Dr Nzenza said poor rains in the last summer cropping season due to El Nino resulted in poor urban families that engage in urban agriculture failing to get meaningful yields.
“I want to appeal to the councillors that if we are in a situation where we can’t deliver aid to the most remote areas, that is where you come in,” she said.
An estimated 5,3 million people in the country are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection during the 2018/2019 lean season (October to April), of which 3,8 million are in rural areas.
Binga, Mudzi, Buhera and Kariba are hardest hit, with their situation categorised as an emergency.