Donors and financiers have started to chip in and support Zimbabwe’s drought response efforts with the country’s citizens facing starvation.
World Food Programme (WFP) says that 7.7 million Zimbabweans, which is about half of the African country’s population will face food insecurity this year.
The United Nations Office for Coordination for Human Affairs (OCHA) blames drought and crop failure, exacerbated by macro-economic challenges and austerity measures, for the vulnerable households in both rural and urban communities.
Country’s government has always blamed sanctions for the challenges that have negatively affected human life in the country.
But, the United States of America (USA) says Zimbabwe food security crisis is due to the combined effects of failed economic and agricultural policies, corruption, consecutive poor agricultural seasons, the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, and now, the COVID-19.
With millions being vulnerable to starvation, the African Risk Insurance Company Limited (ARC Ltd) paid US$ 1, 465,602 to the Government of Zimbabwe and US$ 290,288 to the WFP to support the extensive drought response efforts.
The payouts are as a result of drought insurance policies bought by Zimbabwe and the WFP to cover the 2019/20 rainfall season.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube speaking after the ARC notification said,” This is evidence that the Government of Zimbabwe is taking measures of cushioning its discuss against natural disasters, in the country. The payout will complement existing social safety nets that Government has structured to counter droughts and other emergencies like COVID 19 pandemic.”
Niels Blazer, the WFP Country Director and Representative for Zimbabwe said, “The ARC payout to the Government of Zimbabwe and WFP through the Replica initiative is proof that the concept works as an innovative instrument to humanitarian agencies to finance early response and life-saving actions in the aftermath of extreme droughts. When combined with other instruments such as micro-insurance for smallholder farmers and Forecast-based Anticipatory Action, it provides powerful combined approach that has the potential to accelerate progress towards zero hunger in Zimbabwe.”
Besides the ARC, the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will provide $60.55 million toward the World Food Programme’s (WFP) 2020/21 Lean Season Food Assistance program to feed nearly one million people in Zimbabwe.
The country’s Ambassador Brian Nichols said, “The United States remains committed to responding to the humanitarian situation, providing critical food assistance to Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining essential services.”
Balzer said, “WFP would like to thank the American people for their generosity and steadfast commitment to the people of Zimbabwe at this critical time. Our Lean Season Assistance programme addresses the urgent food needs of the most vulnerable Zimbabweans, who are facing a triple threat of climate induced drought, economic crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic.”