Zimbabwe reportedly needs $1.5 billion in food aid to prevent a mass starvation in the African country. The Zimbabwean government is requesting aid after roughly 25 percent of its population are facing severe drought and lack of food.
The area of Harare is suffering from the most severe drought in 20 years, leaving an estimated 3 million people without access to food, reports IBT.
“I am therefore appealing to the private sector and the people of Zimbabwe, inclusive of those in the Diaspora, to support this emergency relief program,” said Zimbabwean Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a press conference.
“The government of Zimbabwe requires a total of [$1.5 Billion] with effect from February to December 2016. The amount of rainfall received to date is inadequate to meet basic household consumption needs as well as support for livelihoods, agriculture and wildlife,” the Vice President said.
Zimbabwe’s government said that $720 million of the requested aid would be used to import 1.4 million tons of food grain.
Mnangagwa said on Feb. 10 that more than 70 percent of the agriculture in the southern, rural area of the country was ruined by drought, reports The New York Times.
The U.N. Development Program coordinator Bishow Parajuli said that the group has raised $60 million for Zimbabwe -- a fraction of what Zimbabwe’s government says is needed.
Zimbabwe raised concerns about a severe lack of food in the country earlier this year. On Jan. 21, Mnangagwa met with European Union ambassador Philippe van Damme to request food aid after farmers fell short of producing the amount of food needed to sustain the people and livestock of Zimbabwe, reports All Africa.
While Zimbabwe needs about 1.8 million tons of maize to feed its population, local farms produced only 700,000 last season.
Zimbabwe and all of southern Africa are reportedly affected by the El Nino weather pattern that has brought drought to the region.
“In general, water for domestic use and livestock watering is in critical shortage in some parts of the country. An alarm has also been sounded over the impact of the drought on various wildlife species in the national parks,” said Zimbabwe’s Vice President.