- UN plans Zimbabwe food
The United Nations World Food Programme
(WFP) has said it is planning a large emergency
food aid operation for Zimbabwe - a country
that traditionally produces a food surplus.
The organisation said one of its teams had just
visited the country and found that more than
half a million people were facing acute hunger.
already survive on just
one meal a day, and
their plight is
The World Food
Programme made it
clear it was responding to a request from the
authorities in Harare, and said it would begin
distributing food relief next month.
"What we're seeing
right now is a
emergency, a variety
of serious problems
which when added up,
gravely threaten the
lives of hundreds of
thousands of people,"
said Judith Lewis, WFP
regional director for
eastern and southern
The WFP said poor rains - preceded by flooding
- have contributed to Zimbabwe's severe
But it also highlighted the disruption caused to
commercial agriculture by the violent
occupations of white-owned farms, a
development encouraged by President Robert
The WFP says rural people in the south, west
and extreme north of Zimbabwe have been
hardest hit - and that normally they are given
surpluses from other parts of the country.
But now the surpluses have dried up, and
Zimbabwe lacks the foreign exchange to buy
food from outside.
Industry officials said Zimbabwe needed to
import at least 600,000 tonnes of maize to
meet domestic demand. The government has
acknowledged a need to import 100,000
In October, Zimbabwe already faced serious
food shortages due to price controls imposed
by the government in a bid to control runaway