Zimbabwe declares food shortages national disaster

Harare, Zimbabwe (PANA) - Zimbabwe's sharply divided parliament Thursday united in declaring food shortages in the country a national disaster, and urged the authorities to engage the international community and non-governmental organisations to reduce suffering, especially among the poor.

Parliamentarians said people in the country, especially in the countryside, were already dying of hunger, blamed on a combination of drought and poor agricultural polices by the government.

They tabled a motion declaring food shortages a national disaster, and urging government to engage donors to alleviate suffering.

The authorities banned NGOs from operating in the country in March and June, when the country held general elections, accusing most of them of covertly convassing political support for the opposition.

It has since lifted the ban, but most of the NGOs have yet to resume operations.

"Yes, we accept that there is hunger in the country. This motion is not about political parties, but about people who feel hungry who are Zimbabweans,'' the MPs said.

In their motion, the parliamentarians wanted government to engage foreign donors to help avert starvation in the country.

The country harvested less than a quarter of its annual requirement of 1.8 million tonnes of the staple maize food this year, forcing the government to import from neighbouring countries.

But whatever food has been imported has either not yet arrived or is not being quickly distributed enough to avert starvation in some parts of the country.


Pan African News Agency
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