THE number of people who have succumbed to hunger in Bulawayo has shot up to 63 in the month of March alone.
The new f
igure is a sharp increase from a conservative 27 people who died from hunger in February.
Bulawayo Health Services director, Zanele Hwalima, explained that poverty, food shortages and inability to access nutrients contributed to malnutrition and the subsequent deaths.
The worst-hit age group are those under four, where a total of 48 children died due to malnutrition compared to 20 the previous month.
According to figures from the City Health department, a total of five children in the five to 14 age group died of malnutrition while three people between the 20 to 49 age group also succumbed to hunger.
Three adults in the 50 to 59 category also died of malnutrition while another four elderly people in the 70-plus age group died.
These are not the first deaths in the city due to malnutrition. Late last year, 43 people died in Bulawayo while a further 27 deaths were recorded earlier this year.
The majority of Zimbabweans in rural areas survive on food handouts from international food agencies while people in urban areas have been left out of major feeding programmes.
A survey conducted by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee late last year indicated that a large number of people in the urban areas were in dire need of food aid.