Millions in Zimbabwe facing food crisis

The United Nations has stepped up its emergency appeal for Zimbabwe, warning that more than five million people, a third of the population, will need food aid before the next harvest.

Written By: BBC/Isabella Kerubo
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The United Nations has stepped up its emergency appeal for Zimbabwe, warning that more than five million people, a third of the population, will need food aid before the next harvest.

Once a regional bread basket, Zimbabwe has suffered years of turmoil.The southern African country is suffering from the effects of drought, a cyclone and a severe economic downturn.

Recent harvests have been badly affected by drought and the price of food has risen sharply. Low water levels have also hit the main hydro-electric plant at Kariba, triggering rolling power cuts across the country.

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Zimbabwe’s problems were exacerbated when Cyclone Idai swept through the region earlier this year.

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The huge storm, which also hit parts of Malawi and Mozambique, affected 570,000 Zimbabweans and left tens of thousands of them homeless.

This year’s maize harvest failed, and the government estimates that by the time of the next one in March, half the country will need food aid.

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But Zimbabwe’s problems are partly man-made.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has failed to bring economic stability since he won disputed elections last year after Robert Mugabe was forced to step down.

Inflation has become such a problem that the government has stopped publishing official figures.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a $331m (£270m) appeal as the country battles the effects of drought, a cyclone and an economic crisis.

“We are talking about people who truly are marching towards starvation if we are not here to help them,” David Beasley, the head of the World Food Programme (WFP) said.

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We are facing a drought unlike any that we have seen in a long time. We don’t have the luxury of fiddling while Rome burns,” he said.

The UN was already appealing for $294m for Zimbabwe but says it now needs more funding as the impact of the drought has spread.

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