‘US drought assistance surpasses $50m’


HARARE – United States Agency for International Development (USaid) has so far contributed over $50 million towards alleviating hunger, which is threatening the livelihoods of at least five million people in Zimbabwe.

Apart from assisting Zimbabweans with food aid, USaid is also working on building self-sufficiency that enables people to cope with future droughts.

An El Nino-induced drought has thrown the lives of millions on the line and the situation has been worsened by the dire economic situation, which is characterised by cash shortages.

“Since the beginning of the drought (in Zimbabwe), USaid has provided over $50 million in emergency funds to World Food Programme (WFP),” the US embassy said in a statement.

El Nino is a climatic pattern that occurs above the Pacific Ocean every five years and causes extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods in many regions of the world.

The statement comes after USaid’s acting deputy assistant administrator in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Dina Esposito visited Zimbabwe to assess the country’s drought crisis.

“Throughout her trip . . . Esposito met with the people of Zimbabwe to learn more about how the El Nino-induced drought is impacting their families and communities.

“Her visit to Zimbabwe was part of a three-country trip to evaluate the impact of the El Nino-induced drought on food security in Southern Africa,” the embassy said.

In Zimbabwe, Esposito visited Harare, Bulawayo, Tsholotsho, and Hwange.

In these areas, Esposito visited some of the projects being funded by USaid, including a dip tank and a dam in Hwange and a $44 million Amalima project in Tsholotsho, which aims to address the underlying causes of chronic food insecurity and malnutrition in rural areas.

“Through WFP, USaid also provided food or cash to those who constructed . . . communal assets in exchange for their labour, meeting their immediate food needs while also protecting livelihoods in the long-term,” the embassy said.

American people, through USaid, have invested over $2,6 billion in Zimbabwe over the past three decades. Their projects include increasing food security, supporting economic resilience, improving health systems and services and promoting a more democratic system of governance.

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