The UN expressed concern Monday of the food situation in Zimbabwe, hit by a severe drought. The organization said the country needs $ 290 million to feed up to 4.5 million people by the next harvest.

“The general forecast on the food situation inZimbabwe until March 2017 are bleak,” said Eddie Rowe Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) for the country, during a press conference in Harare on Monday May 9 According to WFP, up to 4.5 million Zimbabweans will need food aid by March 2017 because of the drought mainly affects the southern region .

“The rains of March-April have slightly improved the situation, but for most (residents) it was too late to save the crops. And several districts still feel the burn of El Nino, “said Eddie Rowe, referring to the current hot equatorial Pacific worsening the drought in southern Africa.

Of the $ 360 million needed in the response plan, only 70 million have been received.

Bishow Parajuli, the UN Development Programme representative for Development (UNDP) in the country, believes that the needs are expected to increase in coming months as the assistance plans are “far from being fully funded.” “Of the 360 ​​million dollars (316 million euros) needed in the response plan, only 70 million have been received,” he said Parajuli. He added: “We expect the number of food insecure people will fluctuate from 30% to 49% of the rural population – 4.5 million people -” before the next harvest in March 2017.

Natural disaster

“6,000 children dropped out of school in Matabeleland North province (west) because of hunger or the need to go help their families on farms,” ​​says Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in a report released Monday, May 9 “Children no longer go to school, they wake up in the middle of the night to fetch drinking water,” it added.

In February, President Robert Mugabe said the state of natural disaster in many rural areas, devastated by drought also hit South Africa, Zambia and Malawi.Formerly called breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe has experienced repeated shortages in recent years and is dependent on grain imports from neighboring countries for several years.