The United States Government announced $10 million in additional funding in response to the critical food security situation in Zimbabwe. The contribution, provided through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), brings the total U.S. funding for drought relief since June 2015 to $35 million, ensuring 600,000 rural Zimbabweans have adequate food supplies to cope with the drought.
Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. formally handed over the donation to World Food Programme (WFP) at a ceremony on Thursday. “I am so excited that we are providing additional humanitarian assistance for vulnerable Zimbabweans,” said Ambassador Thomas Jr. “As you are aware, Zimbabwe is enduring its second straight year of drought as a result of El Niño, the United States and our partners stand by the people of Zimbabwe, addressing immediate food security needs while gradually building resilience to future climatic shocks.”
Of this additional $10 million contribution, $5 million will be allocated to WFP to provide food rations and cash transfers for the purchase of food to the most vulnerable Zimbabweans. This funding will allow WFP to reach even more food insecure people in February and March of this year, in addition to those already receiving food assistance from USAID through WFP.
“WFP appreciates the generous contributions from our long-time partner USAID,” said WFP Zimbabwe Country Director Eddie Rowe. “With this funding, we will continue to pursue our goal to reach zero hunger in Zimbabwe by investing in resilience building activities while meeting the immediate needs of the most vulnerable people during this difficult time.”
Guided by the results of the ZimVAC Rural Livelihood Assessment, WFP will target three additional districts – Chipinge, Mangwe, and Uzuma Maramba Pfungwe – and scale up operations within the eight districts currently receiving assistance – Zvishavane, Mudzi, Hwange, Binga, Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Kariba, and Mbire – to reach an increasingly food insecure population.
The other $5 million in new funding will allow WFP to restart its Productive Asset Creation program, which provides monthly food rations or cash transfers to targeted, vulnerable Zimbabweans in exchange for labor on community assets such as irrigation schemes, dip tanks, and dams. This assistance improves not only rural infrastructure but also the livelihoods of these rural populations.
In addition to the $30 million contribution to WFP over the past year, USAID has provided an additional $5 million to World Vision and Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) to respond to the drought across 10 districts in Manicaland, Masvingo, and Matabeleland North and South. With a total contribution of $35 million since June 2015, USAID and its partners are reaching 600,000 Zimbabweans with emergency assistance across the country, just when they need it most.
Poor weather conditions in Zimbabwe, including erratic rainfall and long dry spells, have contributed to large-scale crop failure and livestock deaths across the country. As a result, according to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC), an estimated 2.8 million rural Zimbabweans are currently facing food insecurity – 30 percent of the rural population.