Drought-hit Zimbabwe raises aid appeal to 3.3 bln USD

HARARE, May 27 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe raised its aid appeal to 3.3 billion U.S. dollars on Monday, up from the initial 2.2 billion dollars announced last month to cater to 60 percent of the country's population that will be food insecure until March next year due to drought.

According to Local Government and Public Works Minister Daniel Garwe, the number of food insecure people is now estimated at 9 million, up from the initial 7.7 million, constituting 60 percent of the country's population.

Launching a joint food aid appeal with the United Nations, Garwe thanked development and humanitarian partners for their support to date but urged them to step up their assistance to help those in need.

"The overall estimated requirements for interventions by all sectors of the economy are staggered at 3.3 billion U.S. dollars. The humanitarian appeal focuses on immediate needs, recovery and resilience building of the affected populace. In this stride, there is a moral obligation and urgency for the international community to lend a hand for life-saving support to those most in need," Garwe said.

Last month, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared a state of disaster over the drought and indicated that the country requires 2.2 billion U.S. dollars to respond to the drought.

"Preliminary indications are that an estimated nine million people will be food insecure and require food assistance until March 2025. This figure covers both the urban and rural population. It is critical, therefore, to support these vulnerable households along with those directly affected by the drought," Garwe said.

The UN has launched an aid appeal of 429.3 million dollars to assist close to 3.1 million people affected by the drought in Zimbabwe.

"We therefore call on the international community to show solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe at this extremely challenging time and to stand with us as we step up our response to this devastating event," UN Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe Edward Kallon said in a speech.

"We appeal for the international community's continued generous support to ensure that communities severely impacted by El Nino can cope and recover from it and engage in transformative change," he added.

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