- The World Food Programme (WFP) has launched an appeal for US $118 million to assist over three million Zimbabweans facing severe food shortages caused by poor harvest and worsening economic quagmire.
“Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are already starting to run out of food and several million more will be reliant on humanitarian assistance by the end of the year,” Amir Abdulla, WFP’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, declares.
The UN food agency has almost secured 140,000 tons of food in stock for the starving nation. However, the agency says it needs another 207,000 tons of cereals and other commodities worth US $118 million to cover its increased relief activities from now until the next harvest in April 2008.
“WFP plans to feed more than 10 times the current number of beneficiaries over the next eight months to avert the threat of widespread hunger, but to do this we need more donations – and we need them immediately,” Abdulla says.
WFP officials fear that in the absence of assistance, starving families will be forced to engage in “risky survival measures”. These measures include eating unsafe wild food, selling household assets, exchanging food for sex and crossing illegally into neighbouring South Africa.
Over the years, the UN food agency and its partners have saved the lives of millions of hungry Zimbabweans and also to avert them to turn to desperate measures - prostitution or migration - as means of survival.
“With sufficient funds, WFP will be able to help millions more to cope with this latest crisis,” he says.
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