Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe yesterday got US$25 million from development partners for humanitarian assistance.
The United Nations committed $10 million.
The United States through its arm, US Agency for International Development, pledged $15 million at a function attended by several ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe, senior Government officials and development partners.
The $10 million was announced by visiting UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr Mark Lowcock while the $15 million was pledged by the US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Brian Nichols during a Flash Appeal, in which the global body is requesting the international community to assist the country overcome drought-induced humanitarian challenges.
In his address, Mr Lowcock bemoaned the recurrent droughts affecting the Southern Africa.
He said the assistance would be extended to both people in urban and rural areas based on need.
“The reason is because of a combination of factors that include climatic phenomenon such as El Nino and economic crisis. I am releasing $10 million today as a first contribution. I can only do that because member states of the UN contributed to that. What we are trying to do with this allocation is to identify the most vulnerable people in this country like child-headed families and people with disabilities. The approach we are going to take is exclusively on the need,” said Mr Lowcock.
Deputy Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet, Mr Justin Mupamhanga said Government will pursue irrigation construction as part of long term measures to end recurrent droughts.
“It is in this light that Government is taking measures with the support of cooperating partners of making Zimbabwe arrive at a point that it will be self-sufficient. Our desire is to go beyond that. You will recall that our President said we must move into irrigation. He said 300 000 hectares will go under irrigation. When that happens I can assure you that Zimbabwe will be self-sufficient but let me hasten to say for us to have that infrastructure we need a conscious appreciation from UN agencies and cooperating partners to arm us with the necessary capacity,” said Mr Mupamhanga.
UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Bishow Parajuli said they were compelled to act following analysis projecting high level of food insecurity in both rural and urban areas.
“Flash Appeal is targeting 2,2 million people in both rural and urban communities for the period January to June 2019. These are the people who have been hardest hit by economic and climate shocks. Urban vulnerability is complex and we are gathering evidence and lessons learnt from the initiative currently being piloted in Epworth,” said Mr Parajuli.