This is part of a report by the World Food Programme Titled “Hunger in urban Zimbabwe peaks as the ripple effect of COVID-19 is felt across the nation”.
Hunger in Zimbabwe’s urban areas has increased over the past year with 2.4 million people now struggling to meet their basic food needs, according to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) report coordinated by the Food and Nutrition Council.
The lockdowns imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 have dealt a severe blow to poor urban communities, many of whom were daily wage earners living hand to mouth.
While unable to find work in cities, the ban on travel has meant that seasonal employment in rural areas is no longer an option.
With work opportunities disappearing, the recent report states that 42% of urban households will not be able to meet their cereal requirements this year compared to approximately 30% for the same period in 2019.
The World Food Programme (WFP) Representative and Country Director Francesca Erdelmann said:
Reduced access to nutritious food has resulted in negative impacts for many. Families will find it difficult to put food on the table, most of them have been stuck at home and were not able to go to work, the fortunate ones will skip meals while those without will have to go to bed with empty stomachs.
For the most vulnerable people, hunger will have a lasting effect on their lives. The deteriorating hunger situation, caused by COVID19 threatens to be their biggest challenge.
There has been a sharp decline in the standard of living across poor urban communities in Zimbabwe with 83% of urban households now below the cost of the minimum expected food items such as mealie meal, salt and cooking oil compared to 76.8% in 2019.
One of the challenges faced by the urban households were sharp price increases of basic commodities while the purchasing power of the Zimbabwe dollar has been eroded by inflation and the negative economic effects of COVID-19.