By Nyasha N Mukapiko
The United Kingdom (UK) government through the Department for International Development (DFID) announced an additional forty million pounds (US$42.5m) aid in response to the El-Niño induced drought during a press briefing in the capital.
DFID Head of Mission in Zimbabwe Annabel Gery said the UK government was committed to support the people of Zimbabwe through collective drought response but in a transparency and accountable manner.
“This afternoon I have announced an additional 40million pounds contribution making a total of 55.6m pounds from the UKs Department for International Development for the drought response, so that’s a total of around US$73.3m”, Gery said.
Gery revealed that 4.1million people were expected to be unable to meet their food needs during the peak impact of the El-Nino induced drought from January to March 2017.
The UK government further announced additional support on malnutrition following the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment (ZimVac) from July which showed an increase in risk and occurrence of malnutrition as a result of drought.
Since October 2015, the UK through its partners has provided humanitarian assistance to support over 360 000 people through electronic mobile cash payments, in fifteen districts worst affected by drought.
Acting Chief Secretary in the president’s office Mr Ozias Hove commented the UK government over the additional forty million pounds.
“I just want to place it on record government’s appreciation over the additional 40m pounds that DFID did announce this afternoon; we are grateful, very critical support because we are heading for the rainy season so more resources are required”, Hove expressed his gratitude.
Hove said government was facing transport challenges in ferrying the drought relief grain due to poor road infrastructure and shortages of trucks that were in adequate.
More than 4 million people were left food insecure after the country was hard-hit by the El-Nino induced drought last year.
Government requires US$352m for the humanitarian response up to March 2017 for the targeted 3.1million people though 4.1million are people are affected. US$191m is currently committed for the drought response.
According to the 20th Annual Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF-20) which was held in Harare, Zimbabwe will receive normal to above normal rainfall for the 2016/2017 rainfall season.
By Nyasha N Mukapiko