By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE World Food Programme (WFP) Friday announced a $3 million CAD fund channelled through the UN humanitarian food agent by Canada to help feed some 55 000 starving villagers in Matobo district.
The funding comes in to support WFP’s rapid scale-up of emergency food assistance to Zimbabwe, a country with nearly half of its 15 million population food insecure.
Canadian Ambassador René Cremonese said through WFP the fund was meant to assist 55 000 people in Matobo.
“Canada is standing with the people of Zimbabwe in addressing food insecurity by providing CAD$3 million to the WFP to help 55,000 people in Matobo district, in addition to the CAD$1 million provided early in 2019,” he said.
Cremonese travelled to Chipinge this week, together with WFP Representative and Country Director Eddie Rowe, to visit a food distribution site and meet some of the families receiving this vital food assistance, from WFP thanks to Canada’s support.
WFP Representative and Country Director Eddie Rowe thanked the Government of Canada for its continued commitment to the people of Zimbabwe.
“WFP is seriously concerned about the hunger that millions of Zimbabweans are enduring, and the very real prospect that their plight will get worse before it gets better,” said WFP Representative and Country Director Eddie Rowe.
“This support from Canada will go a long way towards improving the well-being of food insecure people, particularly children and women.”
Canada’s contribution comes at a crucial time when WFP is working to provide 4.1 million people in Zimbabwe with emergency food assistance in the country’s ongoing hunger crisis.
Besides providing Zimbabweans with food to put on the table and meet their daily nutritional needs, WFP’s Canadian funded food assistance also provides a cushion for Zimbabweans during the lean season.
It protects them from resorting to detrimental ways of coping, like selling assets or livestock, which will undermine their food security in the longer term.
At present, more than 7.7 million people – or half of Zimbabwe’s population – is food insecure, and US$104 million is still required for WFP to provide people with life-saving food assistance during the peak of this year’s lean season and in the wake of poor harvests through until June 2020.