BY STAFF REPORTER
THE Japanese government has partnered with the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) to provide assistance to over 6 000 vulnerable families in Gokwe at a cost of US$500 000 amid concerns that the secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic could exacerbate food insecurity in the district.
This was revealed by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in a statement yesterday.
The IFRC said 3,4 million people, more than a third of the country’s rural population, were facing “crisis” or “emergency” levels of hunger.
“The government of Japan has contributed US$500 000 to provide services such as healthcare, hygiene, water, sanitation, including food security in selected communities in Gokwe North and South districts in order to enhance their resilience to COVID-19-induced shocks for 12 months,” IFRC said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a humanitarian crisis in the country caused by successive droughts and a dire economic situation. The capacity of families to access and afford food for themselves has diminished, thus increasing their food insecurity and lack of basic needs.”
IFRC head of cluster delegation southern Africa, Michael Charles said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered great challenges in our time. During this period thousands of people have lost their livelihoods. Notably marginalised and vulnerable communities are bearing the brunt of the devastation caused by the pandemic. As IFRC, we are immensely grateful to the Japanese government for this generous contribution.”
ZRCS secretary-general Elias Hwenga said: “A combination of adverse factors, including COVID-19 and the 2019/20 drought has led to most communities in Zimbabwe experiencing food shortages, as well as having a greater risk of being exposed to water shortages.”
He said since the advent of COVID-19 a year ago, the ZRCS had been supplying ambulance services and conducting contact tracing for the pandemic, as well as raising public awareness.
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