By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE United Kingdom (UK) is releasing an extra US$5,4 million of aid money to immediately provide food, nutrition, water and shelter to 110 000 vulnerable families living in Zimbabwe’s urban areas
Zimbabwe will receive £4 million – approximately US$5.4 million – to help support 110 000 food insecure people living in urban areas.
In a statement Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s development director for the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development (FCDO), Cate Turton, said the beneficiaries will be the elderly, people living with disabilities and child-headed families that have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The aid, to be implemented by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), will be in the form of monthly cash transfers or electronic vouchers worth US$12 per person.
“Zimbabwe is facing a humanitarian crisis, which has been compounded by a deteriorating economy and the Covid-19 pandemic. This extra UK aid support will mean people can feed their families and prevent the crises from escalating,” Turton said.
“We hope to see other donors step up to the plate with some extra funding to support the people of Zimbabwe through this difficult time.”
Hyperinflation, the Covid-19 and a third successive year of drought in 2020 has affected Zimbabweans in both urban and rural areas.
Francesca Erdelmann, WFP Zimbabwe’s country director said they were grateful to partner with the UK’s FCDO.
“This generous and timely contribution from the people of the United Kingdom will go a long way to relieve the hunger burden on Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable urban population,” Erdelmann said.
“The WFP and the humanitarian community are facing a shortage of funding, and this contribution will ensure we can continue to save lives at this critical time when the grip of Covid-19 on the country is tightening and putting people’s livelihoods on the line.”
The new funding is part of UK’s £40.4 million Zimbabwe Humanitarian and Resilience Programme (ZHARP), which through the WFP has since November 2019 provided food aid and cash transfers to 413 000 extremely vulnerable Zimbabweans in rural areas and 100 000 urban dwellers.
The UK is also planning to support 156 000 people in three rural areas during the agricultural lean season with in-kind food assistance up to the next harvest in April 2021.