Zim Food Shortages Claim Scalps Of Aid Workers

By Professor Matodzi

Harare, February 20, 2014 – The biting food deficit has claimed the scalps of several humanitarian workers whose employment has been terminated.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is battling to mobilise adequate financial resources to help stem massive starvation in the troubled southern African country following a poor grain harvest in 2013 which critics blame on the unproductive black farmers who seized white owned productive farms more than a decade ago.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ARDA), one of the WFP’s implementing partners which has been running several feeding schemes across the country recently informed the bulk of its employees that their employment contracts were being terminated at the end of this month after the United Nations food agency encountered a critical shortage of funding which resulted in “pipeline” breaks.

“WFP has been striving to secure additional funding, but the situation has however remained critical, thus it has terminated distributions beyond February,” reads part of ADRA’s letter to the humanitarian organisation’s employees dated 6 February and signed by Victoria Vera, the organisation’s human resources officer.

ADRA has asked employees to carry out a “proper handover” of the donor’s assets to the organisation’s management.

“We regret having to take this action, but it is due to circumstances beyond our control,” said Vera.

WFP country director Sory Quane was on Wednesday quoted by a local newspaper, NewsDay stating that his organisation urgently needs $60 million to help mitigate starvation in Zimbabwe where 2.2 million people are in urgent need of food aid.

Zimbabwe has been battling to feed its citizens for more than a decade following the government endorsed violent land seizures which left some Zanu PF supporters in ownership of the majority productive farms which they have turned unproductive.