World & Community

Care International decries severe drought, inflation in Zim

By Staff Writer

CARE International has decried the impact of the severe drought ravaging Zimbabwe which will further be complicated by the already existing inflationary pressures choking the country’s citizens.

The El Nino induced drought has left 2, 7 million Zimbabweans in dire need of food aid in a development which recently saw President Emmerson Mnangagwa declaring the devastating effects of the drought a national disaster.

Presenting the Southern Africa regional drought context CARE’s director for Zambia, Chikwe Mbweeda said the country has unique challenges which require specified attention.

“ In Zimbabwe, the effects are really stressing around 2,7 million people are in need a National disaster was declared in April due to .Like Zambia and Malawi , this drought is leading Zimbabwe to a poor harvest which is actually driving up food prices and limiting access to markets and low supply in the markets .

She said for Zimbabwe the inflation rates have severely affected purchasing power and when we look at statistics from the national agency the prediction is that annual inflation will be up to 34,8% .

“This is a serious issue that we have to really deal with and we are calling upon the government of Zimbabwe to be looking at increasing funding, disaster prevention and early warning systems. It is the entire Southern Africa region that has been affected,” she said.

Southern Africa is on the brink of a devastating hunger crisis as a relentless drought tightens its grip. El Niño has led to searing heat that led to massive crop failure causing water sources to dry up.

As a result, millions of people in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia have been driven towards starvation. To highlight this crisis, CARE alongside the Human Science Research Council, FANRPAN, and Rural Women’s Assembly held a press conference on 22nd April 2024 to call for international donor support to combat the worsening crisis.

In Malawi, El Nino has affected close to 4.4 million people due to below-normal rain and scorching temperatures. This caused maize, a staple food for many, to be severely affected across the nation. Additionally, other crops such as rice, groundnuts, and soya beans have suffered substantial losses, threatening food security and livelihoods. Forecasts predict a significant drop in crop yields and increased vulnerability among homes that depend on agriculture for sustenance.

In Zambia, the drought has impacted 9.8 million people. Delayed rains and wilting crops led to a national disaster declaration in February. Food prices surged 45%, worsening hunger. 84 districts in 8 provinces are affected, impacting 14.8 million.

A March assessment found alarming food insecurity: 76% with limited food stocks, 5.7% with none, and 75.7% resorting to severe coping mechanisms.

Crop damage is 50-90%, and water scarcity has forced 30% to seek alternative sources. At the same time over 740 people have succumbed to Cholera in what has been identified as the deadliest outbreak the country has experienced.

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