According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, (ZimVAC) 5.5 million people living in ZImbabwe’s rural areas are facing hunger, the Daily News reports.
The committee which is made of government representatives, the United Nations, CSOs, and technical agencies working in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic worsened the situation.
Said ZimVAC in a report:
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It is expected that the 2020 food insecurity will spill over into 2021. Zimvac estimates that around 5,5 million rural people will be food insecure at the peak of the hunger season from January to March 2021.
This prevalence of food insecurity is one of the highest the country has recorded in the recent past, and the data suggests the need for continued support to households, to stop them slipping into chronic food insecurity and malnutrition.
The Covid-19 pandemic imposed new threats in an already critical food security situation arising mainly from the prevailing poor macro-economic conditions and consecutive years of drought.
Subsistence farming families who make up three-quarters of Zimbabwe’s population and produce most of its food have been the most affected.
The Covid-19 pandemic imposed new challenges on the economy. The informal sector was the worst hit. The government’s lockdowns starting in March (2020) effectively closed down informal markets.
Formal business also struggled to retain their employment capacities, leading to a number of firms cutting down the size of their workforce.
This comes after MDC Alliance Vice President Tendai Biti slammed the government for extending the lockdown without announcing social safety nets to cushion vulnerable people in the society.
More: Daily News