UN avails $214 million for drought relief

Source: UN avails $214 million for drought relief – Sunday News Jan 22, 2017

Sunday News Reporter
THE United Nations, through its development partners has in the last 10 months mobilised about $214 million towards drought alleviation in Zimbabwe, an official has said.

An estimated 4,1 million people require food aid countrywide following a severe drought last season. The UN requires $352 million to respond to the country’s drought situation under the humanitarian response plan which started in April last year and end in March this year.

This leaves a deficit of $138 million in the inter-governmental organisation’s budget for drought alleviation in Zimbabwe. UN resident co-ordinator, Mr Bishow Parajuli on Friday said efforts were underway to raise enough funds for the drought response programme.

“As at end December 2016, nearly $214 million had been committed for the drought response, which is 61 percent of the $352 million funding requirement under the Humanitarian Response Plan. The UN and NGOs have been continuously making efforts to mobilise support for the drought response, including through regular situational updates and appeals at the country, regional and HQ levels, as well as high-level multi-stakeholder consultative meetings on the drought,” he said.

Mr Parajuli said another assessment exercise will be carried out this month to evaluate the extent of food insecurity in the country and update the findings of the rural livelihoods assessment carried out in May 2016. The findings, coupled with those of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac) urban vulnerability assessment are likely to see the number of people in need of food aide increasing.

“There will be a ZimVAC rapid assessment — co-ordinated by Food and Nutrition Committee — in January to update the findings of the May 2016 Rural Livelihoods Assessment, and that the results are expected to be available in mid-February,” he said.

Meanwhile, compilation of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac) urban vulnerability assessment report is now complete.

Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Cde Tapuwa Matangaidze told Sunday News last week that the report had been sent to Cabinet for assessment. He said findings contained in the report will be officially released after Cabinet assessment. Cde Matangaidze said the report will inform Government on the extent of food insecurity in urban areas in light of the prevailing drought.

“The report is now complete. It was sent to Cabinet for assessment. Any time from now the findings will be officially released if Cabinet is satisfied with the report. The report is supposed to give us a clearer picture of the extent of vulnerability in urban areas with regards to food security, so as to inform effective intervention strategies,” he said.

According to UN statistics, an estimated 1,4 million have been affected by drought in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South provinces and the Midlands province. Of the total affected by drought in the four provinces, about one million are already receiving food aid through efforts by the Government and its partners.

Midlands Province is the worst affected where an estimated 630 000 are drought afflicted with 350 000 of the total already receiving relief assistance.

In Matabeleland North 413 000 people have been affected by drought and all of them are receiving food aid. An estimated 225 000 people from Matabeleland South are being supported with relief assistance out of a total 340 725 affected by drought, while in Bulawayo 14 000 people are receiving food aid.

The exact number of people affected by drought in Bulawayo will only be known upon release of the ZimVac urban vulnerability assessment report.

Stakeholders in the country’s drought mitigation programme have been on record calling for mobilisation of more funds towards alleviating food shortages, in light of the imminent increase in the number of people needing food assistance by January 2017.

Zimbabwe, like most parts of the Southern African region received below average rainfall in the past rainy season as a result of the El Nino weather effects leading to widespread crop failure.