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Many Zimbabwean NGOs Overwhelmed By Surging Food Aid Need


Humanitarian organizations in Zimbabwe are finding it difficult to meet surging demand for food assistance, says the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, adding that people displaced by April-June political violence have swollen lines for food aid.

NANGO spokesman Fambai Ngirande said organizations such as the NGO Consortium for the Southern Africa Food Security Emergency, or C-SAFE, are gearing up operations. But many NGOs are finding themselves overwhelmed by the scale of the need, he said.

One problem is that there is simply not enough food in the country. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network or FEWSNET said in a recent alert that C-SAFE, the World Food Program and the government had planned to import some 1,164,000 tonnes of food to meet needs through early 2009, but by August 31 had only imported 193,281 tonnes.

Not only are foodstuffs like the staple maize meal in short supply, but hyperinflation is driving prices many essentials out of reach of ordinary Zimbabweans. Some commodities are only available on parallel or black markets, and then only for hard currency.

Ngirande told reporter Patience Rusere that food appeals have not generated the hoped-for response and rural communities stand in urgent need of seed and other agricultural inputs over the next six weeks if they are to get crops in the ground for the 2009 harvest.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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