Hungry 4.1 million Zimbabweans to receive food aid

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Roughly a quarter of Zimbabwe’s population will receive food aid from the UN to avert a hunger crisis.

The World Food Programme (WFP) says it will provide 4.1 million Zimbabweans with cereal, pulses and vegetable oil.

Around a half of the country’s population is facing hunger with 7.7 million reported to be experiencing severe hunger.

More than 240,000 metric tons of food commodities will be delivered by WFP to ease the hunger.

“With poor rains forecast yet again in the run-up to the main harvest in April, the scale of hunger in the country is going to get worse before it gets better,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.

Zimbabwe was once a major food producer in southern Africa but is currently in the middle of a drought and inflation that have both adversely affected food production.

The situation has been worsened by the shortage of bank notes, meaning many can’t buy food.

Markets are not functioning, WFP country director Eddie Rowe told Reuters.

“We believe if we do not reach out and assist these people then the situation would blow up into a major crisis,” he is quoted as saying.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa government will scrap its plan to remove grain subsidies next year, a move it says will protect impoverished citizens from rising food prices, state media reported last week.