Zimbabwe government appeals for private aid as drought triggers emergency

10 Feb 16

Zimbabwe’s government has appealed to local businesses and charities for $1.5bn in aid to feed more than a quarter of its population who are going hungry due to severe drought.

 

The country’s president Robert Mugabe declared a state of emergency last Friday after revealing that 26% of the population, or 2.44 million people, are food insecure. Cattle are dying in the tens of thousands, reservoirs are running dry and crops have been decimated.

The Guardian reported today that the country’s vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, asked the private and third sector to help provide $1.5bn up until the end of the year for the import of foodstuffs and repair of irrigation equipment.

“There is a threat to human and animal life as safe water, irrigation water and drinking water sources are increasingly drying up,” he said.

In its first economic overview of the country last week, the World Bank noted that the drought had renewed the economy’s vulnerability to climate shocks.

The cyclical El Niño weather pattern, which has been causing both heavy rains and drought around the world, has been felt in Zimbabwe’s agriculture, water and power sectors.

As well as erratic rains, Mugabe has also blamed low farm yields on sanctions imposed by western countries over human rights abuses in the country.

On the other hand, critics have noted the president’s land reforms enacted since 2000, which saw the often violent eviction of white farmers, hold at least some of the blame.

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