U.S., UK Provide Humanitarian Relief to Over 650,000 Zimbabweans

group shotToday the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) will jointly launch humanitarian assistance programs to provide immediate support to vulnerable Zimbabweans facing food insecurity during the upcoming lean season. These donors are contributing a combined total of $43 million to provide food and cash to over 650,000 individuals in 29 districts across Zimbabwe.

Poor weather conditions during the 2014-2015 agricultural season, including erratic rainfall and long dry spells, contributed to large-scale crop failure across the country. As a result, according to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, an estimated 1.5 million rural Zimbabweans have been left food insecure at the peak of the hungry season.

Working through trusted partners, including the United Nations’ World Food Programme and CARE, this support will provide a combination of food aid and cash transfers to the most vulnerable households within these districts to help them through the most food insecure months of the year.

USAID/Zimbabwe Mission Director Stephanie Funk said:

“The United States continues to stand by the people of Zimbabwe during difficult times. We recognize that humanitarian assistance alone is not enough. We and our partners are working to build resilience and assist vulnerable Zimbabweans to develop the skills to move away from dependency toward self-sufficiency.”

Head of DFID Zimbabwe, Annabel Gerry said:

“The UK’s first responsibility will always be to protect vulnerable people from shocks, and so it is critical that we provide this assistance to Zimbabwe now. At the same time, our longer term aim is to build the resilience of the poorest people to withstand such shocks.”

DFID and USAID continue to focus on efforts to help Zimbabweans move toward long-term food security. These agencies support multiple programs which assist hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people to increase their agricultural productivity and incomes and improve their nutritional status. Ultimately, this effort will ensure that the poorest people become more resilient in the face of food security shocks, including recurrent drought.”

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For more than 30 years, the American people, through USAID, have invested over $2.6 billion in Zimbabwe.  Current projects include initiatives to increase food security, support economic resilience, improve health systems and services, and promote a more democratic system of governance.

In 2014/15, DFID provided £73 million in support for Zimbabwe to increase food security, send children to primary school, provide clean water and improved sanitation, create economic opportunities, and reduce maternal mortality.

For additional information, please contact:

U.S. Embassy Harare Public Affairs Officer, Karen Kelley at kelleyk@state.gov

British Embassy Harare Press Officer Sibusisiwe Ndlovu at Sibusisiwe.Ndlovu@fco.gov.uk