Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
President Mnangagwa has declared the 2018/2019 El-Nino-induced drought a State of National Disaster, paving way for the launch of the Revised Zimbabwe Humanitarian Appeal yesterday by Government and the United Nations.
Addressing the media on the 28th Cabinet Decision Making Matrix yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the drought had affected the country’s agricultural production and food security.
“Cabinet was informed by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing that His Excellency President E.D. Mnangagwa has today declared a State of National Disaster in regard to the El-Nino-induced drought, which adversely affected the country’s agricultural production and food security in the 2018/2019 agricultural season.
“The declaration paves way for the launch of the country’s appeal for drought relief assistance and the associated resilience building support by the international community. The United Nations said Zimbabwe requires in excess of US$331 million to address the humanitarian needs of 3,7 million between the period July 2019 and April 2020,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
Speaking during the launch of the Revised Zimbabwe Humanitarian Appeal later in the day, Minister Moyo — who chairs the Cabinet Committee on Environment, Disaster Prevention and Management — said: “We also made sure we have people who come from the private sector. We want them to hear what the international community is doing to help Zimbabweans so that when we approach them they know we are not alone. We have support. We have those who can support us.”
UN resident co-ordinator Mr Bishow Parajuli said the launch follows the launch of the Zimbabwe Flash Appeal in February, which covered the period January to June 2019.
The impact of the 2018/2019 drought combined with continuing macro-economic challenges have resulted in food insecurity, according to a report by Minister Moyo and Mr Parajuli.
“The revised appeal was developed in close co-ordination with the Government’s Cabinet Committee on Environment, Disaster Prevention and Management chaired by Minister July Moyo.
“It takes into account the Government strategy and plans for addressing the increasing humanitarian needs. The humanitarian interventions in the revised appeal are meant to address the gaps in the Government efforts, focusing on priority life-saving support targeting the people in most need,” Mr Parajuli said.
Mr Parajuli appealed to development partners and “friends of Zimbabwe” to come to the party during this difficult time.
US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols announced that Washington would provide an additional US$45 million in response to the social challenges.
EU delegation head of development and cooperation Ms Irene Giribaldi said the bloc stood with the people of Zimbabwe and donated an additional US$11 million to address the immediate the humanitarian needs of the country’s population.
“The fund will be used to provide essential foods and inputs from this critical period to the harvest period next year,” she said.
The United Kingdom welcomed the launch of the humanitarian appeal saying it availed an additional 7,9 million pounds last month ahead of the launch yesterday.
Government expects to harvest about 852 000 tonnes against a national requirement of 1,8 million tonnes.
In order to tackle the root cause of the socio-economic challenges in the country, the UN and partners are supporting the Government to undertake the necessary reform efforts as outlined in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.
The Zimbabwe Recovery and Resilience Framework, which is being developed by the Government with technical support from the World Bank, UN and EU will further guide multi-sectoral and sustainable recovery of the cyclone-affected communities.
The impact of prolonged drought throughout the country resulted in less than 50 percent of average annual production of maize crop as well as a severe depletion of the country’s strategic grain reserves.
The Government estimates the food supply gap to be over 900 000 tons. Production yields at communal farm level have been worst hit and granaries are only enough to sustain households for a maximum of three months.