Zimbabwe is set to receive a major boost in its efforts to tackle the effects of a prolonged drought.
The country is set to obtain a £21.5m grant from the UK Department of International Development (DFID), which will be directed to the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund.
A prolonged dry spell across the southern African region, compounded by an invasion by crop-eating worm, has exposed millions of people in the region to hunger.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in a statement confirmed that millions of people faced hunger as a result of the twin scourges of poor rains and fall army worm infestation.
“Even if there is above-average rainfall over coming months, much of the damage to crops is irreversible,” WFP regional programme adviser Brian Bogart warned.
The dry spell, which started in October, has caused crops to wilt, threatening the survival of both livestock herds and people.
The Southern African region and the East African side were hit by a lack of rainfall for a major part of 2017, with the pattern spilling into 2018.
According to a statement released by the DFID, the fund will go towards strengthening the capacity of vulnerable rural communities to withstand shocks and stresses, ultimately reducing their need for humanitarian help and improving their wellbeing.
Head of the DFID in Zimbabwe Annabel Gerry urged authorities there to work towards tackling the hunger disaster.
“Without adapting, poverty, food insecurity, malnutrition, and environmental degradation will continue to be serious challenges in Zimbabwe, particularly in rural areas,” she said.
This development comes on the back of an acute water shortage in South Africa’s Cape Town, which has been tipped to completely run out of water by June.
Experts said the city urgently needed rains to fall in order to avert a crisis.
Already residents of Cape Town are forced to queue for hours daily to obtain the basic commodity.