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UN announces food crisis in Zimbabwe
World News

UN announces food crisis in Zimbabwe

by Cara Bentley

On Wednesday, the United Nations said Zimbabwe was facing its worst ever hunger crisis and revised its humanitarian appeal to step up food assistance to people most affected by drought, flooding, and economic stagnation.

Cyclone Idai struck the country in March, affecting around 570,000 Zimbabweans, as well as large parts of Mozambique and Malawi, wiping out villages and crops. 

The World Food Programme (WFP) say now that more than one-third of the rural population, or 3.6 million people, will be food insecure by October and by January the figure is expected to increase to 5.5 million during the inter-harvest season.

Most of Zimbabwe's 60 districts will exhaust their maize stocks by October with the WFP needing $173 million to implement its response plan in the next nine months.

Aid charity CAFOD's country representative for Zimbabwe, Verity Johnson, said: "Years of economic turmoil and climate change, as well as the recent Cyclone Idai, are pushing families to the brink of starvation. Last year's harvests failed, largely due to extreme weather, ranging from droughts that lasted for months on end, to flooding which wiped out whole villages.

"The cost of food has also risen sharply and there are severe bread shortages across the country. Where it can be found, a loaf of bread in Zimbabwe now costs up to nine times more than it did a year ago. Parents are struggling to feed their children and give anything they can get hold of straight to them.

"With the prolonged drought, dams have failed to fill, and wells and rivers are drying up, leaving communities with no option but to walk tens of kilometres to reach water.

"We are at crisis point. The Church in Zimbabwe has also recently called for the desperate cries of Zimbabwean families to be heard."

The charity has stepped up it efforts to reach remote areas over the last couple of weeks through the Church network.

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