Food crisis worse than reported: Official

Food crisis worse than reported: Official – NewZimbabwe 05/03/2016

THE food security situation in Zimbabwe has worsened as the whole country is in urgent need of relief, Food and Nutrition Council Director, George Kembo, has said.

Kembo was speaking last week in Harare at an event where the United States announced $10 million additional funding in response to the critical food security situation in the country.

About 2.8 million people are starving and in urgent need of food as opposed to the 1.5 million which NGOs have been providing assistance to.

Kembo said the hunger situation could worsen in the coming months due to the fact that Zimbabwe is a landlocked country. He said delays in bringing in food through Mozambique and South Africa were anticipated.

“The food situation in Zimbabwe has become critical and due to several reasons and the government is trying to bring in food as swiftly as possible,” Kembo told New Zimbabwe.

Parliamentarians have also reported that they are failing to cope with the situation in their respective constituencies so they want government to urgently supply them with food.

In response to the situation, World Food Programme Director Eddie Rowe said the consortium of NGO’s will have a co-ordination meeting next week to discuss modalities on how to reach out to all areas in need of food aid.

“As you know, we are giving aid to 800 beneficiaries’ in areas where crop harvest was poor and we are yet to discuss the current situation when we meet,” said Rowe.

“We have the capacity to cover all areas in need but the greatest challenge we have is to mobilize resources.

“I have been around the country to assess the situation myself and all we need to do is to scale up the coverage to ensure that we do not just scratch the surface on supplying food aid,” said Rowe.

A recent report by the ministry of Agriculture revealed that the country had food supplies to last for only three months.

The funding for drought relief provided through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) brings the total to $35 million, ensuring 600, 000 rural Zimbabweans have adequate food supplies to cope with the drought.