HARARE,October 8, 2015.The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) have jointly launched humanitarian assistance programs to provide immediate support to vulnerable Zimbabweans facing food insecurity over the upcoming lean season. These donors are contributing a combined total of $43 million to provide food and cash to over 650,000 individuals in 29 districts across Zimbabwe.
Poor weather conditions during the 2014-2015 agricultural season, including erratic rainfall and long dry spells, contributed to large-scale crop failure across the country. As a result, according to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, an estimated 1.5 million rural Zimbabweans have been left food insecure at the peak of the hungry season.
Working through trusted partners, including CARE and World Food Programme, this support will provide a combination of cash transfers and food aid to the most vulnerable households within these districts to help them through the most food insecure months of the year.
Head of DFID Zimbabwe, Annabel Gerry said:“The UK’s first responsibility will always be to protect vulnerable people from shocks, and so it is critical that we provide this assistance to Zimbabwe now. At the same time, our longer term aim is to build the resilience of the poorest people to withstand such shocks.
DFID and USAID continue to focus efforts on helping Zimbabweans to move toward long-term food security. These agencies support multiple programs which assist hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people to increase their agricultural productivity and incomes, and improve their nutritional status. Ultimately, this effort will ensure that the poorest people become more resilient in the face of food security shocks, including recurrent drought.
USAID/Zimbabwe Mission Director, Stephanie Funk commented:“The United States continues to stand by the people of Zimbabwe during difficult times. However, humanitarian assistance alone is not enough. Our partners are working innovatively to help vulnerable Zimbabweans develop the skills and tools to move away from dependency on food assistance and toward self-sufficiency.”