LUPANE – Chief Vusimuzi Mabhikwa-Khumalo has pleaded for food aid saying his subjects have been hit by serious hunger due to drought that has ravaged Matabeleland Province.
In most rural areas of Matabeleland Province, desperate villagers are reportedly surviving on wild fruits.
Speaking to the Daily News on Wednesday in Jotsholo in Lupane in Matabeleland North Province, 19-year-old Chief Vusimuzi Mabhikwa-Khumalo, said the hunger situation has reached critical levels.
He pleaded with government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to come to his people’s rescue.
“People are hungry I tell you,” he said.
“The hunger situation in this area has hit alarming levels because of this drought. My plea is for the government and NGOs to supply us with food.
“Yes, we had programmes like Food for Work but that is not enough to avert this hunger. Most of our dams have silted and water has also become a big problem.”
Food for Work programme is open to all rural folks who are prepared to do manual and unskilled labour in exchange for food provided by government or NGOs.
A recent report by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that 2,2 million Zimbabweans would face food shortages owing to last year’s poor harvest.
To avert hunger-related deaths, the government began importing maize from Zambia to feed people in drought-hit areas but the imports have been stymied by a funding shortfall.
A few weeks ago, Zimbabwe reportedly took delivery of over 3 000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia for distribution in the southern parts of the country.
The maize was part of the 1,5 million tonnes expected from Zambia under an agreement signed early this year by President Robert Mugabe and his Zambian counterpart Michael Sata.