The United Nations (UN) on Tuesday increased its aid appeal from donors for Zimbabwe to $331.5 million.
Zimbabwe experienced two extreme weather events characterised by a severe drought induced by the El Nino phenomenon and an unprecedented tropical cyclone, Cyclone Idai.
This resulted in acute food shortages, leaving millions in both urban and rural areas on the brink of starvation.
Maize yields have fallen to just 50 per cent of the previous season’s harvest due to drought while the eastern districts of the country were ravaged by the powerful cyclone.
According to government estimates, 2.2 million people in urban areas require food aid.
David Beasley, executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme, said 2.3 million people in rural Zimbabwe need emergency food aid now.
The figure is expected to rise to 5.5 million during the lean season up to March next year. Said, Beasley:
We are talking about people who truly are marching towards starvation if we are not here to help them.
We are facing a drought unlike any that we have seen in a long time. We don’t have the luxury of fiddling while Rome burns.
The UN had previously appealed for $294 million but the figure has now been raised to $333.5 million.
In total, 7.7 million people require food aid which is roughly one in every two Zimbabweans.