News / Africa

US Donates $4M to Help Ease Zimbabwe Hunger

Zimbabwean villagers collect their monthly rations of food aid about 254km north of Harare on March 7, 2013.
Zimbabwean villagers collect their monthly rations of food aid about 254km north of Harare on March 7, 2013.
The U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe announced a $4 million grant to the U.N. World Food Program (WFP), heeding a call from the U.N. World Food Program for further help with the food crisis in Zimbabwe, where more than two million people are facing hunger or in some cases, starvation.  

The donation brings the United States' contribution toward fighting hunger in Zimbabwe to $29 million this year, but some Zimbabweans blame the West for the country's food shortages.

U.S. ambassador Bruce Wharton announced the donation Tuesday while visiting Umguza, a rural area in Matabeleland North province, about 400 kilometers southwest of Harare.

Some demonstrators protesting U.S. sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his allies were restrained by fellow villagers during the announcement. The World Food Program says Matabeleland North is one of the four provinces where food situation is dire, especially in rural areas.

Wharton referred to the demonstration as an act of freedom of expression.

“I am really here to talk about the humanitarian needs and the work that we are doing with the people of this community to build long-term resilience, economic activities so that the people of Zimbabwe do not have to rely on targeted seasonal humanitarian assistance," Wharton said, "so that every year there is a smaller number of people who need this sort of assistance, so that they are able to produce their own food, to educate their own children (and) to build their own lives.”

Seasonal humanitarian assistance has become the norm in Zimbabwe since 2000, when agricultural production began a long-term plunge.  Authorities attribute the trend to drought, while critics blamed Mugabe's chaotic land reforms.

Since then, maize, Zimbabwe's staple crop, has been in short supply. During this so-called "hunger season," the last three months before harvesting, the WFP is struggling to raise $86 million to feed more than two million hungry Zimbabweans.

Robert Tshuma was among those demonstrating during the Wharton's tour of Umguza. He says the protest was against the financial and travel sanctions the United States and other Western countries have applied against Mugabe and his allies.

"We are not stopping anyone from distributing food aid here, but our appeal is that these sanctions be removed," said Tshuma. "Sanctions should go. When will they lift them?"

The sanctions were first applied more than a decade ago, after reports of human rights abuses and election-rigging by the Mugabe government.

Jennifer Sithole, a widow looking after five children, says all she wants is food assistance.

“I do not have assets [implements] to plow and the place was very dry," Sithole said. "As widows, people were working very hard to get food [from WFP].”

Even with the latest U.S. contribution, the World Food Program still faces shortfalls for its health, nutrition and resilience-building activities in Zimbabwe. The agency says it still needs $60 million during the next six months to fund these programs.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias pe from: Portugal
February 13, 2014 12:33 PM
Thank You America

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs