UN crisis chief due in Zim to assess humanitarian situation

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By Anna Chibamu

UNITED Nations (UN) humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock is scheduled to visit Zimbabwe this week to assess the humanitarian situation in the country, the world body confirmed Monday.

He is expected to meet with senior government officials, the diplomatic community, humanitarian organisations and members of civil society.

In addition, the UN envoy is also due to meet people in Epworth and Mudzi district who have been hit hardest by increasing food insecurity.

According to the UN statistics, Zimbabwe is facing rising humanitarian needs as a result of erratic rains and economic challenges, with 5.3 million people estimated to be in urgent need of assistance.

During his visit Lowcock will also launch the 2019 Zimbabwe Flash Appeal with the UN Resident Coordinator, Bishow Parajuli, on behalf of the Humanitarian Country Team.

The appeal calls on the international community to contribute to the aid organisations’ efforts to save lives in response to Zimbabwe’s economic challenges and deteriorating humanitarian situation.

According to a UN statement on Monday, the trip will mark Lowcock’s first visit to Southern Africa as Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.

It also coincides with MDC allegations that government is distributing food aid in rural constituencies only to card-carrying members of the ruling Zanu PF.

The administration has however denied the allegations and also insists that the country has enough grain for this year.