The World Food Programme (WFP) has appealed to the international community to step up support to Zimbabwe to help millions of people facing hunger due to a prolonged drought and economic meltdown.
According to the agency, nearly eight million people are not getting adequate food to eat.
WFP says it plans to double to 4.1 million the number of people that it assists, but will require over $200 million to meet their needs in the first half of 2020 alone.
“As things stand, we will run out of food by end of February, coinciding with the peak of the hunger season – when needs are at their highest,” said Niels Balzer, WFP’s Deputy Country Director in Zimbabwe.
“Firm pledges are urgently needed as it can take up to three months for funding commitments to become food on people’s tables.”
Zimbabwe has been hit by a drought that has lasted the better part of three years. The situation has affected agricultural production, with maize harvest dropping by 50 per cent in 2019 when compared to 2018.
The situation has been worsened by the country’s weak economy which has left many families unable to afford meals.
The UN says some families have resorted to desperate measures including taking their children out of school and selling livestock to make ends meet.
WFP targets to avail some 200,000 metric tons of food to assist the 4.1 million Zimbabweans it plans to assist.