Zimbabwe Cabinet Warns: Half of Population to Face Hunger Amid Drought Crisis

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The government has made an appeal for financial assistance to rescue millions from hunger.

More than half of Zimbabwe's population is projected to require food aid this year due to a devastating drought causing widespread crop failure. The country's cabinet was informed of this during a late Tuesday meeting. According to the Zimbabwe Livelihoods Assessment Committee (ZIMLAC), approximately 6 million people in rural areas and 1.7 million in urban areas will need assistance.

Zimbabwe, along with Zambia and Malawi, is among the hardest-hit countries in Southern Africa due to the El Nino-induced drought. The government has declared this as Zimbabwe's worst drought in 40 years..

The latest crop assessment presented to the Cabinet of Zimbabwe also revised upwards Zimbabwe's maize production deficit to 77% from last week's predictions. "A 77% reduction in production to 744,271 metric tonnes is estimated for the 2023/2024 summer season, indicating a major shortfall for both food and stock feed," according to a cabinet brief.

A local consortium of private millers plan to import 1.4 million metric tonnes of white and yellow maize from Brazil and other countries to cover the food deficit.

The United Nations and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have appealed for financial assistance to save millions from hunger. It follows the government's appeal for $2 billion in food aid from well-wishers and donors.

Zimbabwe has failed to feed itself since 2000, when former president Robert Mugabe led land reforms which disrupted production, while climate change has worsened the country's ability to grow enough food.