News / Africa

    UNICEF: Zimbabwe Faces Food, Malnutrition Crisis

    This photo shows the fast-drying catchment area of the Umzingwani dam in Matabeleland, southwestern Zimbabwe, Feb. 7, 2016. President Robert Mugabe had declared a state of disaster two days earlier in many rural areas hit by a severe drought.
    This photo shows the fast-drying catchment area of the Umzingwani dam in Matabeleland, southwestern Zimbabwe, Feb. 7, 2016. President Robert Mugabe had declared a state of disaster two days earlier in many rural areas hit by a severe drought.
    Lisa Schlein

    The U.N. children’s fund warned Tuesday that Zimbabwe is facing a food and malnutrition crisis brought on by an El Nino-induced drought.

    UNICEF said nearly 33,000 children in the country are suffering from severe acute malnutrition and are in urgent need of therapeutic treatment.

    Zimbabwe has suffered through two consecutive seasons of failed rains, with disastrous consequences for harvests and family food reserves. UNICEF said food shortages have sent hunger and malnutrition levels spiraling upward. It said livestock has been dying because water sources have dried up.

    FILE - 13-year-old Prince Mpofu packs the previous year's harvest from the irrigated gardens for storage in the village of Nsezi in Matabeleland, southwestern Zimbabwe, Feb. 7, 2015.
    FILE - 13-year-old Prince Mpofu packs the previous year's harvest from the irrigated gardens for storage in the village of Nsezi in Matabeleland, southwestern Zimbabwe, Feb. 7, 2015.

    A recent assessment found the share of hungry families in the country had more than doubled to 37 percent in the past eight months; nearly 2.8 million people in rural Zimbabwe will need food assistance, half of them children.

    UNICEF spokesman Christof Boulierac said 2.1 percent of children under age 5 have severe acute malnutrition. The international threshold of 2 percent triggers an emergency response.

    “As ever in a crisis of this nature, children face increasing risk of child labor, early marriage and violence," Boulierac said. "There are reports of increased physical and sexual violence, teen pregnancy and child marriage, which are often a kind of coping mechanism in situations of crisis.”

    UNICEF reported that more than one-third of Zimbabwe’s households lack a safe water supply. It said this poses a peril for children, especially girls, who must walk very long distances in search of water, putting them at risk of sexual attack.

    The children's fund said the lack of safe water also increases the risk of waterborne diseases, including diarrhea, typhoid and cholera.

    The agency is appealing for $21 million to provide lifesaving and other essential services for children in the coming year, in the areas of nutrition, health, water and sanitation, education and protection. Without this money, it warned, things will get much worse for children in Zimbabwe in the coming months.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: The O from: USA
    March 16, 2016 12:40 PM
    would be a great idea to stop having so many kids, decrease the population and then there would be enough food for everyone, since the politics are so out of hand... is just math

    by: Kamiko from: USA
    March 16, 2016 4:03 AM
    i hope they arent asking the USA govt for that money. we have 4 states with water poisoning, other states dealing with drought ourselves, and not enough food due all those illegals and other who arent supposed to be here. there is no money for our citizens, the middle class is being taxed to death, we dont even have money for our own healthcare! vets sleep homeless in the streets. sorry, no funds available for our own.
    In Response

    by: mike from: usa
    March 16, 2016 12:50 PM
    i agree with kamiko
    In Response

    by: howard from: USA
    March 16, 2016 10:37 AM
    i might agree that this is the way things are now. but... there is not reason the government can't approach this from a different direction. say.... fund business investments and production here to address both issues US water problems and those of the other nations that have droughts , etc. promote the water industries as a US jobs goal and better water quality for US citizens and others.
    In Response

    by: Garvin Charlemagne
    March 16, 2016 7:39 AM
    you actually wrote this and felt like that was n honest assessment and a worthy answer ? REALLY

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