7.6 million Zimbabweans requiring humanitarian assistance – UN

Staff Writer

The United Nations (UN) estimates that 7.6 million people in Zimbabwe urgently require humanitarian assistance and protection support during the El-Niño-induced drought.

In its drought flash appeal, the UN said it requires US$429.3 million in urgent food aid to assist close to 3.1 million people in the country.

Zimbabwe is currently facing the worst drought-induced El Niño in 40 years. The drought severely and negatively impacted both agricultural production and productivity for the 2023/24 agricultural season.

“The appeal aims to mobilise humanitarian action in support of the government-led response and is directly complementing the government’s own relief efforts. We have ensured that this appeal is prioritised and principled, and we are confident that the activities planned are the most urgently needed to deliver immediate relief to the people,” UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator Edward Kallon said.

Since December 2023, subsequent long dry spells, and high temperatures, coupled with poor rainfall performance, pushed the value of crop and livestock production to a very low.

Estimates for the 2024 crop season are of about 700,000 metric tonnes of maize, out of an annual requirement of 2.2 million metric tonnes.

More than 1.4 million cattle risks to suffer deteriorating conditions or starve, amid lack of food and pasture, according to the UN.

It said the impacts of El Niño have negatively affected local production, with estimates of a 52 percent shortfall.

According to the Crop, Livestock and Fisheries Assessment Report, the Ministry of Agriculture found that crop production was negatively affected with 40% of maize crops was classified as ‘poor’, and 60% as ‘a write off’.

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