By Leopold Munhende
GOVERNMENT has begun food aid distributions in Harare and Bulawayo to avert starvation amid reports at least 5.7 million people across the country will require assistance, Public Service Minister Sekai Nzenza has said.
Nzenza told journalists at Tuesday’s Cabinet briefing that there is increasing hunger at both rural and urban levels.
“Right across the nation we are distributing food in 10 provinces, this week is the first time that we have actually been present in the suburbs where we are distributing food to urban households.
“Our latest Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Report shows that we have 5. 7 million people across the country who are in need of food,” said Nzenza.
“However, this figure does not as yet give us the exact number of the people in urban households who are in need of food but what I can say is that there is increasing hunger both at rural as well as at the urban level.”
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said government had already disbursed 189 042 metric tonnes of grain across the country to avert the starvation.
In Harare and Chitungwiza, Zengeza, Seke, Budiriro, Glen View, Kuwadzana, Dzivaresekwa, Kambuzuma, Rugare and Glen Norah have received aid while Njube, Magwegwe, Nketa, Tshabalala, Nkulumane and Silwane have also been added to the growing list of urban suburbs in need of food aid.
Nzenza assured Zimbabweans that they will investigate any reports of food being distributed long political lines.
A devastating draught and continued disruptions in the agricultural sector have thrust Zimbabwe back into the jaws of famine after only a year of sufficient production to meet domestic needs.
The last rainy season which was one of Zimbabwe’s worst has left many at risk of starving despite government’s ambitious and capital intensive Command Agriculture.
The poor rainfall has also affected electricity power generation at Zesa’s Kariba hydro-power plant.