US gives Zim $10m for food aid

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HARARE – The US government, through its Agency for International Development’s (USAid) Office of Food for Peace (FFP), has provided an additional $10 million to the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

This assistance will support humanitarian food needs in Zimbabwe during the October to March hunger season. WFP will use this contribution to purchase cereals, pulses, and oil, as well as to provide direct cash transfers to beneficiaries where food is available in local markets.

In anticipation of humanitarian food needs for the 2013-14 hunger season, USAid had previously contributed in-kind food — cereal, pulses, and oil — valued at approximately $15 million.

In total, the US government has contributed $25 million to WFP for this year’s humanitarian food operation, which will provide food for approximately 1,8 million of the most food insecure people in Zimbabwe.

The US government is responding to the recently identified needs of 2,2 million people requiring food assistance in Zimbabwe. 

According to this year’s vulnerability assessment, the number of people needing food assistance during peak hunger season — between January and March 2014 — will rise by 32 percent from last year to nearly 2,2 million individuals, or a quarter of the rural population.

Melissa Williams, the USAid mission director in Zimbabwe, said: “Although the US government and other major donors are transitioning assistance in Zimbabwe from humanitarian relief to promoting sustainable development, humanitarian assessments continue to indicate that significant numbers of people in Zimbabwe still require seasonal assistance to meet their minimum food needs. US government contributions toward alleviating these needs signal our continued support of the people of Zimbabwe.”

USAid also recently awarded approximately $100 million to two consortia of non-governmental organisations.

These organisations will work in areas that typically receive humanitarian food aid and will support activities addressing the underlying causes of chronic food insecurity and malnutrition with the aim of reducing future humanitarian food needs.

The United States remains the world’s largest donor of humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe.

USAid has contributed more than $1,1 billion to humanitarian operations in Zimbabwe since 2002.

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