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Japan announces US$ 15.3 million assistance package for drought-and flood-affected communities in Zimbabwe

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The Government of Japan has mobilized a total of more than US$ 15.3 million in emergency funding to assist the most vulnerable people severely affected by drought and floods in Zimbabwe through UN agencies, namely the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Recurring droughts and worsening economic conditions have resulted in Zimbabwe currently facing one of its worst food security crises.

A recent nationwide assessment, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), showed that the total number of food insecure people now stands at 7.7 million, more than half the population, while the number of those who are acutely food insecure stands at 4.3 million.

As well as drought, many of the victims of Cyclone Idai which occurred in March 2019 still require support in order to rebuild their lives. Given the extent and severity of the current humanitarian crisis, life-saving assistance is urgently needed and Japan has greatly increased its funding.

This funding from the Government of Japan includes US$ 14.8 million to provide food assistance to vulnerable populations through the WFP and the Government of Zimbabwe. It will enable the purchase and distribution of around 25,615 metric tonnes of maize.

It is expected that this will meet the essential food security needs of 512,000 households in rural areas for a period of six months. A further US$ 454,545 in funding will provide a comprehensive set of life-saving nutrition, HIV/AIDS and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) interventions targeting the most vulnerable women and children in the four districts of Binga, Buhera, Chiredzi and Masvingo through UNICEF.

It will include the screening and treatment of children for malnutrition, imparting of healthy coping strategies to people living with and vulnerable to HIV and AIDS, and provision of clean water and sanitation to 10,000 children at schools.

Finally, Japan has provided US$ 96,054 through IOM to support populations in Manical and Province who were affected by Cyclone Idai and who are still displaced. It will include the provision of transitional shelters and strengthening of resilience of the displaced people.

In seeking to improve the human security of the Zimbabwean people, the Government of Japan has relied on the experience and expertise of UN agencies to deliver urgent and life-saving assistance for many years. It is hoped that in this current humanitarian crisis, the funding provided by Japan will go a long way towards alleviating hunger and ensuring that the basic needs of the most vulnerable people in Zimbabwe are met.