Funding cuts cripple fight against hunger

The World Food Programme is failing to provide adequate food assistance to hungry Zimbabweans because of poor funding, the organisation says.

While WFP has received some funding from such donors as the US, UK, Canada, Japan, Australia, ECHO and the Central Emergency Relief Fund to fight acute food insecurity, it still requires $60 for its seasonal relief operations.

“Despite generous contributions (from the donors), it’s now looking like this (seasonal interventions) will not be possible because of a shortage of funds,” said WFP in a statement on Tuesday.

It added: “WFP currently needs $ 60 million to fully implement its relief and recovery operations in the next six months. Of course, we'll do everything we can to prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable but there are many whom we might not be able to help.”

Estimates indicate that about 2.2 million people, a quarter of the rural population, need food assistance following poor harvests last year that the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee described as the worst since 2009.

Because of poor funding, WFP has been forced to cut rations to a million beneficiaries lately, and the organisation foresees further scaling down of food allocations in the near future.

WFP has over the years been helping with several initiatives to stave off hunger, among them cash transfers, food for assets programmes and food handouts to needy and vulnerable communities.

With sufficient funding, it had hoped to help about 1.8 million Zimbabweans in areas severely affected by hunger, among them Matabeleland North and South, Masvingo as well as the Midlands.

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