Severe drought has rendered more than a third of rural households in Zimbabwe — or around 3.5 million people — dangerously food insecure, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) revealed.
Citing the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee’s recently concluded Rural Livelihood Assessment, WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel, said the situation was likely to last from now until September with a further deterioration into December that will widen the impact to more than 4.7 million people.
Since that time the area has been suffering through irregular rainfall patterns and cereal crops have been hit by pest infestations.
Moreover, WFP said the hunger period will peak at the height of the lean season, from January through March 2020, when 59 percent of rural households, or over 5.5 million people, will be food insecure.
“Given the scale and scope of the food insecurity in Zimbabwe,” Verhoosel said “WFP is planning to scale up to assist over two million people” by the peak of the lean season during early next year.
Until then, teams will continue providing food assistance to the most vulnerable populations, while also helping communities to build resilience to climate change and future shock impacts.
Over the next nine months, he said that WFP urgently requires $173 million to meet these needs.
The Committee is a consortium of government, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and other international organizations, and the Rural Livelihood Assessment provides key information for government and development partners on rural livelihood programming in the southern African nation. WFP plays a key role in contributing financially and technically to the assessment.
And apart from the deadly cyclones that hit both Mozambique and Zimbabwe earlier in the year, Mozambique’s population has also suffered a rise in food insecurity, fueled by other extreme weather events, Verhoosel said.
In January, tropical storm “Desmond” flooded the central provinces of Sofala, Tete and Zambézia. And in March, cyclone “Idai” destroyed unharvested crops.
Six weeks later, cyclone “Kenneth” slammed the province of Cabo Delgado in the north. Since that time the area has been suffering through irregular rainfall patterns and cereal crops have been hit by pest infestations.