UN pledges R37 billion towards Zimbabwe’s drought crisis

The UN has pledged to support Zimbabwe’s call to mobilise more than R37 billion after President Emmerson Mnangagwa recent declaration of a national State of Disaster following the devastating El Niño-induced drought.

UN pledges R37 billion towards Zimbabwe’s drought crisis
– Advertisement –

The UN, as part of its national anticipatory action and early response, had already allocated R93 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund in December last year.

The State of Disaster was declared by Mnangagwa after assessments of destruction caused by the drought. UN Resident and Humanitarian coordinator in Zimbabwe, Edward Kallon, said the UN would help Zimbabwe mobilise the required resources.

READ Agritourism kept farm afloat during drought

– Advertisement –

“The UN acknowledged the severe impact of the ongoing dry spell in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa and pledges its support to the Government of Zimbabwe in mobilising resources to tackle the El Nino-induced drought. Efforts are underway to finalise a response plan focusing on food security, health, education, shelter and other essential areas to address the needs of those affected by the crisis,” he said.

“This crisis has far-reaching consequences across sectors such as food and nutrition security, health, water resources, education and livelihoods, highlighting the urgency of the situation.”

Zimlive.com reported that more than 2,7 million Zimbabweans would face challenges caused by insufficient food this year. According to Mnangagwa, the 2023/24 grain harvest was expected to bring in just over half of the cereals needed to feed the nation.

Zimbabwe is the third country in Southern Africa to declare a national disaster due to drought, after Malawi and Zambia. The drought has also affected electricity production as Zimbabwe is highly reliant on hydroelectric power.

READ Farmers need help to survive the drought

According to the World Meteorological Organization, the latest El Niño is one of the five strongest on record. Although El Niño peaked in December, above-normal temperatures until were still expected until May. Rainfall in January and February was the lowest in 40 years, according to the UN.

The UN emphasised the importance of enhancing resilience-building and climate adaptation efforts to address the effects of such extreme weather events and to combat the overarching climate crisis.

The UN also recognised the Government of Zimbabwe’s efforts and that of the humanitarian partners for proactive planning and early actions to bolster community resilience.

The sectors targeted with the advance allocation included water, hygiene, sanitation and health, including response to the cholera outbreak, as well as agriculture, food security and nutrition.