UN makes $234 million aid appeal for drought-hit Zimbabwe

UN under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Mark Lowcock, speaking to reporters

The United Nations has launched a US$234 million international aid appeal to help Zimbabwe deal with a drought that has decimated harvests and left a third of the population in need of relief.

The UN’s Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Mark Lowcock met President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday.

“I wanted to express on behalf of the United Nations our total solidarity with Zimbabwe in coping with the drought and current economic challenges. And I was able to inform his Excellency that we will today be launching the United Nations flash appeal to provide assistance from the international community to Zimbabwe. Our appeal is for $234 million,” Lowcock said.

Poor rainfall over the rainy season has hit crop yields and experts fear the country will harvest only a million tonnes of maize, down from the 1.7 million tonnes harvested in 2018. A UN estimate says 5.3 million Zimbabweans would require aid.

Zimbabwe’s annual maize consumption is 1.8 million tonnes and the Ministry of Agriculture said it is still assessing the extent of the drought, while Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said the country has 500,000 tonnes in a strategic reserve.