By Ndatenda Njanike
THE Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) says nearly 2.4 million locals living in the country’s towns and cities struggled to meet their basic food needs over the past year.
In a situational report, ZimVAC said the peak was the cause of the ripple effect of Covid-19 induced lockdowns which were aimed as preventing the rapid spread of the pandemic.
“Hunger in Zimbabwe’s urban areas has increased over the past year with 2.4 million people now struggling to meet their basic food needs,” reads the report in part.
The report was coordinated by the Food and Nutrition Council.
“The lockdowns imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19 have dealt a severe blow to poor urban communities, many of whose members were daily wage earners living from hand to mouth.
“While unable to find work in cities, the ban on travel has meant that seasonal employment in rural areas is no longer an option.
“With work opportunities disappearing, the recent report states that 42% of urban households will not be able to meet their cereal requirements this year compared to approximately 30% for the same period in 2019.
Added the report, “There has been a sharp decline in the standard of living across poor urban communities in Zimbabwe with 83% of urban households now below the cost of the minimum expected food items such as mealie meal, salt and cooking oil compared to 76.8% in 2019.
“One of the challenges faced by the urban households were sharp price increases of basic commodities while the purchasing power of the Zimbabwe dollar has been eroded by inflation and negative economic effects of Covid-19.”