By Anna Chibamu
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has chosen a cautious approach to the renewal of European Union sanctions on the Zimbabwe Defence Industries with Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo thanking the bloc for rendering continued food assistance against the troubled country.
The EU Council met Monday to renew by another year, its arms embargo against Zimbabwe and will maintain a targeted assets-freeze against the state-controlled armaments company, Zimbabwe Defence Industries.
In a statement, Minister Moyo said Harare was grateful over continued support rendered to the pariah state by its European benefactors in the wake of a food crisis that has seen over 5 million hungry locals depending on aid.
Zimbabwe has experienced two successive drought periods and due to hunger that has affected both urban and rural areas, government has introduced mealie-meal coupons for most vulnerable families.
“We are of course, grateful for the support and assistance being provided by EU to bolster government’s efforts to ensure food security for all,” Moyo said.
Recently, EU released US$18.7 million towards emergency food aid for vulnerable people in the country.
According to EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic, funding for Zimbabwe came at a time when large parts of the country and the region were hard hit by drought, reported to be the worst in decades.
The country last week experienced some floods in the northern-province district of Binga destroying homes and animals.
Last year, close to 300 people lost their lives and thousands were left homeless after Cyclone Idai destroyed homes and infrastructure in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts.
Some parts of Masvingo province were also affected with animals decimated as a result of the disaster.
World Food Programme (WFP) recently warned that 4.1 million Zimbabweans risked starving and needed food assistance with over US$200 million required urgently for its emergency response before June this year.
WFP deputy country director Niels Balzer warned the country would run out of food by end of this month.
The Zimbabwean administration, which has declared no citizen will die of hunger, is struggling to feed the hungry.