Freeman Razemba recently in Mashonaland Central—
Government has intensified efforts to feed people affected by the El Nino-induced drought in Mashonaland Central under the Food Mitigation Programme. Some of the areas in the province are remote and starting this month, Government has been distributing food in such areas to assist the people. The areas border with Mozambique. Meanwhile, senior Zanu-PF officials in the province have also partnered with various stakeholders to distribute more food to the people.
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Last week, Mount Darwin North legislator Cde Noveti Muponora and a charity organisation, Tzu Chi Foundation Zimbabwe also distributed various food stuffs and goods to people as well as satchels and stationary to school children.
Under the Food Mitigation Programme, Government is distributing food through the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. Government has so far distributed about 200 000 tonnes of maize this year.
The Herald witnessed several haulage trucks offloading maize in areas such as Mukumbura, Chiseche, Chimbuwe, Majongwe, Chiwonde, Kambanje, Mukoma, Chaumana, Chigango, Kamutsenzere, Tsenga, Chiguma and Kapiripiri, among other areas where the beneficiaries were then handed over their food.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira recently said since the declaration of a state of disaster due to El Nino-induced drought by President Mugabe, drought relief committees were established at national, provincial, district, ward and village levels to coordinate the emergency food response to the food insecure households.
Minister Mupfumira said: “These drought relief structures comprise Government ministries, state agencies, traditional leadership and private voluntary organisations operating in the respective districts”.
During the distribution of rice in Mount Darwin North last week, Cde Muponora assured the people that no one would starve as there was enough food for them. “The country has more than enough grain in stock that can sustain it until the next harvesting period. We are, however, here to also distribute rice and various goods in order to provide more food to the people in this constituency.
“We have also come with bags, satchels and stationery for school children and this will go a long way in assisting them,” he said. Tzu Chi Foundation Zimbabwe director Mr Tino Chu said they will continue to partner with the Government and assist the people with food.
In August, vulnerable and less privileged people living in urban centres started receiving food aid following revelations of an increase in the number of families in need of food aid from 644 306 to 840 000 households.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Engineer Tapiwanashe Matangaidze said 4,1 million people were in need of food aid and the ministry had already started distributing maize in metropolitan provinces of Bulawayo and Harare.
The Southern African Development Committee (sadc) region is seeking $2,4 billion to help an estimated 40 million vulnerable people in the region to fight hunger. El Nino has resulted in widespread crop failures and poor harvests, with a 9,3 million tonne regional shortfall in cereal harvest production in Southern Africa.
The drought has also affected livestock with about 643 000 drought-related deaths reported in Botswana, Swaziland, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.