At least 3.4 million people are in dire need for food assistance with the Japanese government partnering the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society to assist 6 000 families in Gokwe.
The latest Infection Control Assessment estimates that 3.4 million people or more than a third of the rural population are facing emergency levels of hunger.
In partnership with the Red Cross severely affected families in two rural districts, Gokwe South and Gokwe North, in Midlands province will benefit from the assistance estimated to be worth US$50 000.
The project will include the provision of solar powered boreholes, establishment of nutrition gardens and provision of seeds and agricultural inputs.
It is expected to improve the food security of the targeted communities as well as provide access to safe water to the beneficiaries.
International Federation of the Red Cross Head of Cluster Delegation for Southern Africa Dr Michael Charles said the COVID-19 pandemic had uncovered the great challenges in our time.
“During this period, thousands have lost their livelihoods. Notably, some marginalised and vulnerable communities are bearing the brunt of the devastation caused by the pandemic,” he said.
“As the IFRC, we are immensely grateful to the Japanese Government for this generous contribution. Through this partnership we will be able to support communities to restore their livelihoods.”
ZRCS secretary general Elias Hwenga said most communities in Zimbabwe were reeling from effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the 2019\2020 drought which has led to most communities experiencing food shortages.
The communities, he said, were also at a greater risk of being exposed to water shortages adding that the target group for the interventions are the most vulnerable and food-secure community members in Zimbabwe.
“The project aims to enhance the community’s ability to reduce the spread and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 through improving access to basic healthcare and strengthening food security and water provision for the most vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic over a year ago, our teams have been on the frontline, supplying ambulance services, conducting contact tracing and point of entry screening,” he said.
Hwenga said ZRCS teams also assisted in tackling stigma and the spread of misinformation while providing emotional and psychological support to people in need.
The partnership will boost the Red Cross Society’s ongoing efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Africa.
Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Satoshi Tanaka said: “I hope that this support will reach the target communities as soon as possible, ensuring that they are able to meet their immediate basic needs during this humanitarian crisis and making them more resilient in the future and Japan continues to extend its support to the people of Zimbabwe during this crisis.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe with the situation exacerbated by successive doubts and a fragile economic situation.
The situation has also affected families’ capacity to access food for themselves increasing food insecurity in many rural communities.