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WFP launches five-year plan to end hunger in Zimbabwe

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Zimbabwean government on Monday jointly launched a 253 million U.S. dollars five-year plan to build resilience, end hunger and boost nutrition in Zimbabwe.

The country strategic plan, running from 2017-2021, will see the WFP moving away from short-term food assistance to longer-term technical assistance in Zimbabwe, WFP Zimbabwe representative and country director Eddie Rowe told reporters at the launch.

“While maintaining strong humanitarian assistance, the WFP Zimbabwe’s new country strategic plan focuses on supporting longer-term national social protection and resilience efforts, strengthening the systems and institutions needed to help achieve zero hunger,” Rowe said.

He said 53 million dollars of the total budget was earmarked for 2017.

The five-year plan, Rowe said, was based on the findings of the 2015 zero hunger strategic review which identified several factors as the root causes of hunger in Zimbabwe.

Some of the factors are recurrent climate-related disasters, poverty, poor access to water, fragile economic environment, liquidity challenges, low agricultural productivity, limited access to markets and HIV and AIDS.

United Nations Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe Bishow Parajuli commended the WFP for its efforts in helping Zimbabwe to eradicate hunger, and called for greater collaboration among development partners to help Zimbabwe meet Sustainable Development Goals.

According to the WFP, 63 percent of Zimbabweans live below the poverty line while 27 percent of children have stunted growth.

About 4 million people out of the of the country’s 14 million population were food insecure at the peak of the hunger season in January 2017, the UN agency said.

Against this background, the WFP said it would help Zimbabwe to eradicate hunger and improve nutrition through capacitating food insecure people and increasing small holder farmers’ access to well-functioning agricultural markets, among other measures.



China donates over 12,000 tonnes of rice to Zimbabwe

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- China on Monday donated 12,173 tonnes of rice to Zimbabwe to assist vulnerable people that were affected by drought which wreaked havoc last year.

Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira said the donation, which follows Zimbabwe’s international food aid appeal in 2016, would also be distributed to families that were affected by floods in February this year.

Speaking at the signing ceremony with the Chinese Embassy, Mupfumira said the rice was expected in the country by June.

In response to the appeal, China in 2016 already donated 19,000 tonnes of rice which had been distributed to the needy throughout the country.

“Today we are witnessing another contribution from China where they are donating 12,173 tonnes of rice to Zimbabwe. We appreciate the gesture made by China,” the minister said.

The donation comes after China on March 31, 2017 handed over 1 million U.S. dollars to Zimbabwe to help thousands of families affected by floods that hit the southern parts of the country in February.

The Red Cross Society of China also donated 50,000 dollars while the Chinese community in Zimbabwe chipped in with 10,000 dollars to assist the flood victims.

Mupfumira said the Zimbabwe government had distributed 481,073 tonnes of maize to the needy since October last year.

Heavy rains that were worsened by Cyclone Dineo in February left 271 people dead, another 128 injured and nearly 2,000 homeless in Zimbabwe.

The deaths were caused by lightning strikes, drowning and landslides, according to the Civil Protection Unit.

President Robert Mugabe on March 2 declared a State of Flood Disaster, leading to the launching of a domestic and international appeal for nearly 189 million dollars to help victims and repair infrastructure such as homes, roads, bridges, dams, schools, water and sanitation.


UN, partners warn 108 mln people face severe food insecurity worldwide

UNITED NATIONS New York, (Xinhua) -- Some 108 million people worldwide were severely food insecure in 2016, a dramatic increase compared with 80 million in 2015, according to a UN-backed report on food crises released Friday.

“The cost in human and resource terms only increases if we let situations deteriorate,” said UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva, in a news release on the Global Report on Food Crises 2017.

“We can prevent people dying from famine but if we do not scale up our efforts to save, protect and invest in rural livelihoods, tens of millions will remain severely food insecure,” he added.

Civil conflict is the driving factor in nine of the 10 worst humanitarian crises, underscoring the strong linkage between peace and food security, said the report.

“Hunger exacerbates crisis, creating ever greater instability and insecurity. What is a food security challenge today becomes tomorrow’s security challenge,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. “It is a race against time - the world must act now to save the lives and livelihoods of the millions at the brink of starvation.”

This year, the demand for humanitarian and resilience building assistance will further escalate as four countries are at risk of famine: South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and northeast Nigeria.

Other countries that require massive levels of assistance because of widespread food insecurity are Iraq, Syria (including refugees in neighboring countries) Malawi and Zimbabwe. In the absence of immediate and substantive action, the food security situation in these countries will continue to worsen in coming months, according to the report.



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