The government of the United States of America (USA) has unveiled a $US10 million for humanitarian assistance for vulnerable Zimbabweans at a ceremony presided over by incoming US ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry K Thomas easing the woes for the cash strapped Mugabe government.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a drought spell induced by climate change and the Zimbabwean government has recently declared the drought a national disaster.
The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment committee (ZIMVAC) estimated last June that 1.5 million rural Zimbabweans would experience food insecurity from January to March of this year, the peak of the ‘lean season’ months, when food is scarce between harvests.
However, the number of Zimbabweans who are in need for food asistance has increased to over 2.8 million, which is 30% of the rural population which currently is at 9 million.
Despite the frosty relationship between the two countries which has seen the US government slapping Mugabe with sanctions, the donation brings to a total $US35 million dollars brought to Zimbabwe for drought relief.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at World Food Programe offices in Harare, of the unveiling of the $10 million humanitarian assistance between World Food Program and USAID the US Ambassador to Zimbabwe noted the effects El Nino as a major cause of the drought.
‘As you are all aware, Zimbabwe, is enduring its second straight year of drought as a result of El Nino. Farmers experiencing large scale crop failure while watching their livestock die,’ said Thomas.
The government of Zimbabwe and donors have announced that they are looking for funding but fears of food not reaching the intended beneficiary have been raised.
The latest example of the abuse of beneficiaries failing to get donations has been the First Lady Grace Mugabe’s donation at Zanu PF government.
The ambassador was quick to dismiss fears that the food could not reach its intended beneficiaries the US government had put mechanisms.
‘ I can assure you that USAID has a robust monitoring system in place to safeguard our food assistance. WFP identifies food insecure people through a systematic process, including geographic targeting and community based assessments’ he said.
The US ambassador said he would ensure that they would assist the people of Zimbabwe.
‘We work closely with other donors to ensure there is no duplication of effort and that as many communities as possible are covered during this challenging time for Zimbabwe’ concluded the black Ambassador’ he said.
Present at the event were government officials, members of the UN delegate in Zimbabwe, and representatives of the World Food Programme.