UN Issues $429M to Combat Hunger in Drought-Stricken Zimbabwe

UN Funds Aimed at Feeding Over Three Million Amidst El Niño

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe

A disastrous drought brought on by El Niño has left over three million Zimbabweans severely hungry. To help, the UN has launched a Flash Appeal, asking for $429.3 million. A significant portion of southern Africa has been hit by this drought, and 7.6 million people in Zimbabwe are in critical need of food aid.

UN Resident Coordinator Edward Kallon brought attention to Zimbabwe’s severe food shortages during a recent briefing. The anticipated output of maize for the 2024 crop season is only 700,000 metric tonnes, far less than the 2.2 million metric tonnes required annually. The region’s principal grain, maize, is producing less than expected, which highlights how serious the situation is.

The plight of the animals, on whom many Zimbabweans rely, worsens the issue. “A shortage of grass and food puts more than 1.4 million cattle at risk of deteriorating conditions or starving,” claims Kallon. The UN Flash Appeal aims to gather funds to meet these urgent needs, with 3.1 million of the most affected individuals being the target audience.

Kallon also brought attention to the crisis’ broader background by drawing a connection between it and the global climate problems that Zimbabwe has been dealing with on a daily basis. He stressed the importance of implementing robust policies that are in line with the goals of reducing the consequences of climate shocks and addressing the underlying causes of inequality and poverty. President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe has called for $2 billion in international aid to help feed the country’s food-insecure populace and has declared the drought a state of national calamity in response to the worsening situation.

Moreover, the crisis has necessitated significant adjustments to Zimbabwe’s economic strategy. Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube revealed in a statement to the joint Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance, Industry and Commerce, that the government needed to reallocate funds in the 2024 National Budget to cover the costs of importing food in order to avert a global food crisis.

While Zimbabwe battles the immediate effects of the drought, financial reform is crucial to ensuring that the country can secure enough food imports to address the urgent needs of its population. The UN’s appeal and the government’s actions both demonstrate the scope and urgency of the humanitarian response required to prevent a serious catastrophe in Zimbabwe.

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