In response to worsening drought conditions and increased food insecurity, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on January 19th an additional $5 million contribution to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe.
This brings total U.S. Government funding for humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe to $32.5 million since June 2015 following a poor harvest across the country.
According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, an estimated 1.5 million rural Zimbabweans will face serious food shortages in the first three months of this year. This figure is likely to increase if El Niño, as predicted, causes continued drought and a poor April – June 2016 harvest.
USAID’s additional $5 million contribution will support WFP’s Productive Asset Creation activity starting in May 2016 and will provide food rations or cash transfers to over 80,000 individuals in eight districts across Zimbabwe over a six-month period. In exchange for the food rations or cash transfers, beneficiaries will participate in the creation or rehabilitation of community assets, including irrigation systems and dams, to improve infrastructure and livelihoods for the future.
With total contributions of $32.5 million, USAID is working with its implementing partners WFP, World Vision, and Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture to scale up food security programs across ten districts in Manicaland, Masvingo, and Matabeleland North and South, reaching 450,000 people with humanitarian assistance.
For more than 30 years, the American people, through USAID, have invested over $2.6 billion in Zimbabwe. Current projects include initiatives to increase food security, support economic resilience, improve health systems and services, and advance a more democratic system of governance.
“USAID is proud to support the World Food Programme to help vulnerable Zimbabweans cope through this difficult drought,” said USAID/Zimbabwe Mission Director Stephanie Funk. “This program addresses immediate food security needs while gradually helping vulnerable communities build resilience to climatic shocks and eliminating the need for food assistance in the long-term.”