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Zimbabwe Food Shortages Worsen As WFP Cuts Back Distributions

Food shortages are worsening as Zimbabwe moves into the traditional lean season. Humanitarian groups are mobilizing but await Harare's green light to distribute aid.

The gloomy food security picture follows a statement last month from the World Food Program that it had failed to secure adequate funding from international donors and was was scaling back food distribution operations in Southern Africa. The WFP feeds about 1 million of an estimated 1.4 million Zimbabweans facing hunger.

The WFP said that of the 65,000 tonnes of grain needed to feed Zimbabweans, it was only able to provide 39,000 tonnes. It added that the number of Zimbabweans needing food aid was likely to rise to 2 million as food shortages intensify and inflation bites.

Director Nyika Musiyazviriyo of Christian Care, one of the country's main humanitarian aid providers and a WFP contractor, says shortages are getting worse, especially in the Lowveld of Masvingo province and in Matabeleland North and South provinces.

Musiyezviriyo told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbawe that the government must appeal for donor aid to forestall a more acute food crisis.

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