UN pledges support after Zimbabwe declares drought a disaster

UN pledges support after Zimbabwe declares drought a disaster

By Xinhua

HARARE: The United Nations on Wednesday pledged to assist Zimbabwe in mobilizing resources to address the El Nino-induced drought crisis.

This commitment follows President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s declaration of a state of disaster earlier in the day due to the drought, which has significantly reduced cereal output and affected critical food security resources for rural communities.

“The UN pledges its support to the government of Zimbabwe in mobilizing resources to tackle the El Nino-induced drought, and efforts are underway to finalize a response plan focusing on food security, health, education, shelter and other essential areas to address the needs of those affected by the crisis,” said Edward Kallon, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Zimbabwe, in a statement.

As part of its anticipatory action and early response, the UN allocated Zimbabwe 5 million U.S. dollars from its Central Emergency Response Fund in December 2023, targeting areas such as water, hygiene and sanitation, health, food security and nutrition.

Noting the severe impact of the dry spell in Zimbabwe and the southern African region, Kallon said that in Zimbabwe, the crisis has far-reaching consequences across various sectors of the economy.

In declaring the disaster, Mnangagwa said that Zimbabwe requires over 2 billion dollars to respond to the drought. Despite planting 1,728,897 hectares of maize crop and other cereals this year, which should have guaranteed a bountiful harvest, only 868,273 metric tonnes of cereal are expected in this season’s harvest, leaving the nation with a cereal deficit of nearly 680,000 metric tonnes of grain, according to Mnangagwa.

Zimbabwe has an annual cereal requirement of 2.2 million tonnes for both human and livestock consumption.