US avails US$10m for drought relief

The United States government through the US Agency for international Development (USAID) has availed  US$10 million for drought relief in Zimbabwe.

This additional funding together with the $35 million that the US government provided since June last year will ensure that 600 000 rural Zimbabweans have adequate food supplies to cope with the drought.

Speaking at the handover ceremony US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr, who made his first public appearing yesterday said he was excited to provide assistance to vulnerable Zimbabweans.

‘Im so excited that we are providing $10 million in additional humanitarian assistance for vulnerable Zimbabweans.

“As you are all too well aware, Zimbabwe is enduring its second straight year of drought as a result of El Nino. Farmers are experiencing large-scale crop failure while watching their livestock die,’ he said.

He applauded  government for publicly issuing a disaster declaration saying this will enable more humanitarian assistance to be channeled into the country.

“I commend the government of Zimbabwe for recognizing the sovereignty of the drought and issuing a disaster declaration,” he said.

Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr officially signing the deal

Ambassador Thomas said,  “Of this additional $10 million contribution,$ 5 million will be allocated to World Food Program to provide food rations and cash transfers for the purchase of food to the most vulnerable Zimbabweans. These food and cash distributions will maintain the nutritional status of vulnerable Zimbabweans and alleviate suffering for those affected by the drought.

He said the other $5 million in new funding will allow World Food Programme to restart its productive Asset creation program which provides monthly food rations or cash transfers in exchange for labor to build or rehabilitate community bassets such as irrigating schemes.

This according to Ambassador Thomas will enable the most vulnerable households to meet their immediate needs, while also improving infrastructure and livelihoods for the future.

World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director, Eddie Rowe, said  his organisation  will continue to pursue the goal to reach zero hunger in Zimbabwe by investing in resilience building activities while meeting the immediate needs of the most vulnerable people during this difficult time.

“This contribution comes at a very critical tome, when this part of the region has not been spared from the El Nino weather phenomenon. A momment in which we wre experiancing the highest level of food insecurity in recent history.

“This is a moment when many households are forced to reduce the number of meals per day and children go to bed hungry” he said

WFP Country Director Eddie Rowe speaking during the hand over ceremony

Guided by the ZimVac Rural livelihood Assessments which stipulates last June that  1. 5 million rural Zimbabweans would experience food insecurity from January to march this year, WPF will target three additional districts Chipinge, Mangwe and Uzuma Maramba Pfungwe and scale up operations within eight districts currently receiving aid.