Zim gets US$18,7m EU food aid

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THE European Union (EU) has donated 16,8 million euros, which translates to nearly US$18,7 million, towards addressing emergency food needs and support for vulnerable people in Zimbabwe, the Daily News reports. Addressing the media in Harare yesterday, European Union (EU) ambassador to Harare, Timo Olkkonen, said the funding was mobilised after considering that the majority of the population in the country is in dire need of food aid following successive droughts. Olkkonen said while climate change is the major cause of food insecurity in the region, the situation is also “compounded in Zimbabwe by governance challenges and a worsening economic situation”. “We have seen how agriculture has been mismanaged over the years, especially the reports around Command Agriculture and the economic crisis in the country which have also con
tributed,” Olkkonen said. “In addition to providing food and nutrition, Olkkonen said the funds will go a long way in improving access to basic health care and clean water, and provide protection to counter the risks that people’s fragility exposes them to. “The funding for Zimbabwe is part of a larger support package of over 22 million EUR (over US$24,5 million); the remaining amount will be channelled to providing food assistance and nutrition support in Madagascar, Lesotho and Zambia,” he said. Announcing the aid package for the region, Janez Lenarčič, the EU’s Commissioner for Crisis Management, said several poor households in drought-affected areas in the region are struggling to have enough food due to crop failure, reduced access to water and, in some places, unaffordable food prices. “The EU humanitarian aid will help deliver food to those most in need and tackle the hunger crisis in fragile rural communities,” Lenarčič, said. Since January 2019, the EU
has allocated a total of €67,95 million, approximately US$ 75,75 million, for humanitarian assistance across the region. Olkkonen said a bigger chunk of the funding went towards emergency relief assistance in the wake of natural disasters such as Cyclone Idai — which hit Zimbabwe last year, killing dozens and destroying infrastructure and food assistance. This comes as extensive areas in the Sadc region received their lowest seasonal rainfall last year since 1981, according to the EU. In Zimbabwe, approximately 7,7 million people are at risk of severe hunger, placing the country among the states facing one of the worst food crises in the world. In October last year, the EU donated US$60 million under its National Indicative Programme which was meant to support the health sector. The programme outlines the main focal sectors of the EU cooperation with the country during the period 2014-2020 under the 11th European Development Fund.

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