JOHANNESBURG, March 1 – The United Nations is to provide Zimbabwe with $10 million in emergency humanitarian relief to bolster “critical food and livelihood support” for hard-hit people across Zimbabwe.
The UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, made the announcement on Thursday during the middle of a fact-finding mission to the southern African country, UN News reported.
Lowcock warned, however, that this amount allocated from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) represented only a fraction of what is needed to meet the level of need across the country.
Farmers in Zimbabwe have been struggling with erratic rainfall and a fragile economy, and according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 5.3 million people are in need of assistance.
“The CERF allocation will help us to rapidly provide critical food and livelihood support, education, health, and protection services for the most vulnerable people who are hardest-hit during crises, including children, women, the elderly, and people who are chronically ill or living with disabilities”, Lowcock explained.
The aid announcement came during the launch of the Zimbabwe Flash Appeal on Thursday, which requires $234 million to provide urgent food, health, water, sanitation, hygiene and protection support for 2.2 million people who are the most at risk, out of the 5.3 million people in need over the next six months.
An estimated 2.9 million people in rural areas and 1.5 million in urban areas are already severely food insecure, including a million who are facing emergency levels of food insecurity.
A further 900,000 people risk reaching crisis food insecurity levels if the humanitarian assistance they are receiving does not continue.
The UN humanitarian relief chief also highlighted acute shortages of essential medicines, and the high-risk of gender-based violence, particularly for women and girls. (ANA)