USAID injects additional US$42 million towards drought relief

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By Alois Vinga

THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has handed over US$41.9 million to World Food Program (WFP) which will assist more than one million people who are facing starvation due to the devastating effects of the current drought.

Speaking at the donation handover event on Tuesday US envoy to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols said the additional fund will enable the implementing partner ,WFP to double its initial target.

“The United States government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is handing over an additional US$41.9 million 2019. The funding will ensure that more than one million rural Zimbabweans have access to adequate food supplies before the next harvest,” Nichols said.

Nichols said the US remains committed to be part of a coordinated response to the humanitarian situation bedeviling the Southern Africa nation which has 16 districts set to run out of food in the next six weeks.

The US envoy said the contributions will enable USAID to scale up its emergency response over the coming months.

“We will work closely with the WFP to ensure that Zimbabweans in dire need of assistance have access to life saving food.

“These food and cash distributions will help improve the nutrition of vulnerable Zimbabweans and alleviate suffering for those affected by food insecurity.”

The additional contribution brings the total US’s humanitarian funding in response to the 2019/20 lean season to US$86.9 million.

“These resources are in addition to US$15 million in emergency food security funding from the United States announced in February of this year in support of 2018/19 lean season needs under the United Nations flash appeal and US$7.9 million in Cyclone Idai response funding.

“This brings the total to US$ 109.8 million in 2019and make the United States the largest bilateral donor to emergency humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe,” Nichols added.