Japan Thursday announced it has committed US$4.5 million for emergency food assistance in response to the critical humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe targeting 56 000 vulnerable people.
Japan’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Satoshi Tanaka, said the assistance provided through World Food Programme (WFP) will reach the most vulnerable and food-insecure households in urban areas. Tanaka said:
Since I arrived in Zimbabwe in November last year, my discussions with various counterparts have highlighted the humanitarian crisis facing the country, caused by recurring droughts and the serious economic situation, in which a large proportion of the population are experiencing food shortages.
After Covid-19 infections surged from December last year and a strict lockdown was enforced this January, vulnerable people, especially in urban areas where many people depend on informal activities such as vending to survive, have been particularly affected.
Given the severity of the food insecurity situation, the Government of Japan decided to provide this Emergency Grant Aid. It will ensure timely assistance through WFP so that people in dire need in urban areas, especially women-led households, people with disabilities, and people living with HIV, can put food on the table.
I would like to continue with various kinds of assistance to vulnerable people in Zimbabwe, including supporting the fight against Covid-19.
The funding will cover the urgent food needs of 56 000 people, who will receive monthly electronic vouchers (e-vouchers) for food valued at US$12 per person.
Zimbabwe has since 2019 experienced severe starvation following the El Nino-induced drought and a series of poor agricultural policies.
Earlier this month, President Emmerson Mnangagwa predicted the country is set for a bumper harvest that will ensure national food security with the possibility of a surplus this 2020/21 summer cropping season.