A UN official has painted a bleak picture of the availability of food in Zimbabwe.
“The people of Zimbabwe are slowly getting to a point of suffering a man-made starvation,” Hilal Elver, the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food, has said after a 10-day visit to the country.
In a statement in the capital, Harare, she said that 60% of the country’s 14 million people were not getting enough food to meet their basic needs.
“Many of the people I spoke to in Harare told me that they could only afford one meal a day,” she added.
She went on to say that chronic malnutrition was endemic in both rural and urban areas, and that doctors in Harare’s main hospital had told her that “the death of children from malnutrition had been on the rise in the last few months”.
“The harrowing stories I heard from resilient grandmothers, mothers or aunts desperately trying to save their children from starvation, in the midst of their daily hardships, will remain with me.”
Poor rains and erratic weather patterns have affected the harvests, and rising inflation has meant that people are struggling to afford basic commodities.
“The Zimbabweans I spoke to in Harare and its suburbs explained that even if food was widely available in markets, the erosion of their incomes combined with an inflation skyrocketing to over 490%, made them suffer from food insecurity, also impacting the middle-class,” she said.