The United Kingdom (UK) has endorsed the release of an extra £4 million of aid money to 110,000 vulnerable families living in Zimbabwe’s urban areas.

The southern African nation will receive the fund to help provide vulnerable families with food, nutrition, water and shelter.

According to the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development (FCDO), the aid will be in the form of monthly cash transfers or electronic vouchers worth US$12 per person.

Development Director for the FCDO in Zimbabwe, Cate Turton, said the beneficiaries will be the elderly, people living with disabilities and child-headed families that have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘This extra UK aid support will mean people can feed their families and prevent the crises from escalating’, Turton said.

‘We hope to see other donors step up to the plate with some extra funding to support the people of Zimbabwe through this difficult time’.

The aid, according to the FCDO, will be implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP).

Zimbabwe is plagued by severe droughts and a weakened economy, causing food crisis.

Tens of thousands of people have been affected by Cyclone Idai – the worst natural disaster of 2019 that affected four provinces, namely, Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands and Mashonaland East.

In September 2020, USAID and WFP commenced cash disbursements for the Urban Social Assistance programme to provide relief for vulnerable families in eight urban areas across Zimbabwe struggling to meet their daily food needs due to the effects of Covid-19.

The financial assistance allowed WFP to provide support to over 103,700 people with monthly cash-based assistance equivalent to US$12 each, enabling them to meet almost two-thirds of their daily food requirements for the next six months.

It is understood that about 30,000 people are benefitting from the latest WFP programme in Kwekwe.

WFP Zimbabwe Country Director, Francesca Erdelmann, said the humanitarian organisation was grateful to partner with the FCDO.

‘This generous and timely contribution from the people of the United Kingdom will go a long way to relieve the hunger burden on Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable urban population’, Erdelmann said.

‘The WFP and the humanitarian community are facing a shortage of funding, and this contribution will ensure we can continue to save lives at this critical time when the grip of Covid-19 on the country is tightening and putting people’s livelihoods on the line’.

Source: New Zimbabwe

Photo source: WFP/Claire Nevill

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