55% Norton residents food insecure – report

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By Staff Reporter

AT LEAST 55% of Norton residents have been reported to be food insecure and in urgent need of assistance to avert severe hunger, the World Food Programme (WFP) has announced.

In an analysis of the food security situation in Zimbabwe, Norton was flagged as the most affected urban town with the highest percentage of residents who are food insecure.

The dormitory town, 40km west of Harare, has an estimated population of 70 000 residents.

Other towns and cities affected by food shortages are; Harare with 17.6% of residents being food insecure, Epworth – 48.3%, Marondera – 42.3%, Rusape – 27.9%, Mutare – 32.8%, Bulawayo and Masvingo each with 27.7%.

“(Urban) households are increasingly failing to access adequate food without external assistance as a result of the ongoing economic challenges (main reason provided is continuous price increases),” the WFP report released this week reads.

It said residents in urban areas were facing severe hunger due to the unavailability of grain, price increases, poor rain season and the unavailability of casual labour.

“The economy as a whole, is deteriorating beyond predicted levels; fuel scarcity continues, inflation escalating in all sectors, cash liquidity challenges, inadequate energy supply, poverty, unemployment, incapacitated social safety nets, prohibitive cost of agricultural input for the current season.”

The WFP said given the deteriorating food security situation, there were questions around government’s ability to continue to cover three million people with food assistance under its food aid programme.

“The WFP planned caseload for its quarter is 1.6 million people in 31 districts. The plan was to scale-up to reach 2.7 million food insecure people in 43 districts during the period January to April 2020 assuming government would take up the remaining caseload,” the international aid organisation said.

It went on to make a passionate appeal to both the traditional donors and new donors for contributions to help the organisation reach the most food insecure households with food assistance in a timely manner.

“Such assistance will go a long way in ensuring that the most vulnerable households do not engage in negative coping mechanisms.

“Currently, WFP and partners are conducting a baseline survey that will assist in the identification and selection of food insecure households.”