Zimbabwe faces widespread food crisis through early 2025 – FEWS NET

Staff Writer

Zimbabwe is facing a period of widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) conditions across the country, signifying severe food insecurity and acute malnutrition, from October 2024 to January 2025, FEWS NET has predicted.

The alarming situation is a direct consequence of the devastating drought that began in late 2023 and intensified in early 2024, with many areas receiving significantly below-average rainfall.

The El Niño-induced weather phenomenon caused significantly below-average rainfall, leading to widespread crop failures and livestock deaths.

While the forecast for an average rainy season in late 2024 offers a glimmer of hope, the report warns of significant challenges that will persist even with improved weather conditions.

“Although the start of the 2024/25 rainy season in late 2024 is forecast to be average and will likely support engagement in agricultural activity, humanitarian assistance needs will remain high in many areas of the country until the harvest in 2025 due to poor purchasing capacity as a result of limited income-earning opportunities and high food prices,” FEWS NET said in its latest report.

FEWS NET, a famine early warning system network, said the areas of highest concern include the communal smallholder livelihood zones in southern, eastern, western, and extreme northern typical deficit-producing areas.

It said humanitarian food assistance needs are expected to increase into early 2025, following a very early start to the 2024/25 lean season, and be significantly higher than last year and the five-year average.

The government and the United Nations have released appeals for domestic and international support covering immediate, short- and long-term interventions.

According to the network, due to limited access to water and pasture, livestock poverty deaths are expected to peak before the start of the 2024/25 rainy season in October 2024.

However, FEWS NET said the forecasted average rainfall in late 2024 will likely improve water and pasture availability and support improvements in livestock body conditions.

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