Provinces gear up for food aid distribution
GOVERNMENT has stepped up preparations to roll out food aid to an estimated 2,2 million people living urban areas across the country as more people in the country are expected to be food insecure due to the drought experienced during the last farming season.
The food aid programme was previously restricted to rural areas. The rollout is in line with President Mnangagwa’s promise that the Government will not allow anyone to starve in the country.
While Government is yet to announce concrete figures of the number of people who require aid in the urban centres, an assessment done by our Harare Bureau showed that provinces are already in preparatory mode.
The acting director, Social Welfare, Mr Totamirepi Tirivavi, yesterday said they were still compiling information to ascertain the exact number of people who are food insecure in Harare.
“We have done an assessment and we are compiling the information and soon we will be able to have the exact figures of the food insecure people.
World Food Programme-Zimbabwe head of donor relations, communications and reports, Ms Ashley Baxstrom also confirmed that assessment was underway.
In Mashonaland Central, authorities have identified Bindura, Glendale and Mvurwi as the three main urban settlements with people requiring food aid.
The Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Cde Judith Ncube said her office had already covered six of the 29 wards though indications show the requirement for food aid could have been underestimated.
She could not provide figures because she was out of the office.
“We have already started distributing food around Bulawayo and we have covered six wards so far. However, we have been approached by a number of families and organisations seeking more, which means that there is a lot more than the responsible authorities need to do to ensure all households in Bulawayo are food secure,” she said.
Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister, Larry Mavima, said they have already started rolling out the programme in some areas in the province.
He said his office has been working with the Department of Social Welfare in implementing the food relief programme.
“For now we do not have the exact figure of the beneficiaries but we have been working with the Department of Social Welfare in implementing this crucial programme,” he said.
Acting Mashonaland Central Provincial Development Co-ordinator Mr Cosmas Chiringa said a recent Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee report showed that there were a number of households in Bindura, Glendale and Mvurwi who are in need of food aid.
Mr Chiringa said the feeding programme would also be extended to schools. He also confirmed that a two-day national workshop had been organised in Harare running from August 28 to 29 to look at modalities of how to effectively roll out the programme.
In Manicaland, the Acting Provincial Development Co-ordinator Mr Wilson Boore said they did an assessment and a number of vulnerable people had been identified although he could not provide statistics.
“The assessment was completed and as we speak, the report is being consolidated in Bulawayo. We do have people who are vulnerable but as of now, we cannot give the specific number of food-insecure households in urban areas as we wait for the report,” he said.
Manicaland was one of the provinces hardest hit by drought last season, a situation which was exacerbated by Cyclone Idai-induced rains that destroyed 80 per cent of the remaining crop leaving the province with a deficit in terms of the food supply.
In Matabeleland South, the Deputy Director for Family and Social Protection in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Totamirepi Tirivavi said their team was now finalising the ZimVac report.
“We are now at the final stages of compiling a report and that will give us a final outlook of the number of all those people needing food assistance,” said Mr Tirivavi.
Our Harare Bureau is also reliably informed that a total of 5 089 people are food insecure and require 254 tonnes of grain in Beitbridge urban only.
In Masvingo registration of food, insecure and vulnerable families are ongoing. The majority of vulnerable urbanites in the province are in Masvingo, Chiredzi and Mpandawana towns.
Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Ezra Chadzamira confirmed that registration of vulnerable families was ongoing.
In Matabeleland North, all the seven districts are in urgent need of food aid as most farmers did not harvest anything in the 2018-2019 farming season, Provincial Minister Richard Moyo said.
The province is targeting to provide relief to people in Victoria Falls and Hwange the urban areas.
Department of Social Welfare provincial head for Mashonaland West Mrs Agnes Mutowo said they were waiting for results the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee report to assess the level of vulnerability in the province’s urban areas.
“We are still waiting for results from the ZimVac report whose survey has just been completed. The data analysis started on Monday in Bulawayo and it will take two weeks to complete,” she said.
Mrs Mutowo said that the province would be able to determine the level of vulnerability in the urban areas in Mashonaland West after the report.
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Source – The Chronicle