Children’s nutrition and food security has deteriorated rapidly in Zimbabwe this year due to the impact of drought and the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Food Program (WFP) said on Monday.
“Without adequate dietary diversity and meal frequency, infants and young children are vulnerable to malnutrition, especially stunting and micronutrient deficiencies, which increases the risk of morbidity and mortality,” the WFP said in a statement.
WFP Special Adviser on Mother and Child Health and Nutrition Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan is visiting Zimbabwe.
Zeid, who arrived in Zimbabwe on Saturday, is expected to give an overview on Wednesday of her visit and shed light on the nutrition situation in the country.
According to a food and nutrition report released in February this year by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, one out of three children in the country suffers from stunting.
The WFP, which is currently providing food relief and cash disbursements to vulnerable families in both urban and rural areas across Zimbabwe, has projected that by the end of this year, the number of food-insecure people in Zimbabwe will have surged by nearly 50 percent to 8.6 million, or 60 percent of the population.
In urban areas, where COVID-19 lockdown measures have triggered a massive loss of livelihoods, the number of food-insecure people is expected to rise to 3.3 million, from 2.2 million, as the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic become more pronounced, according to the UN agency.