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Urban dwellers to get assistance

Loughty Dube

ZIMBABWE’S hard-pressed urban dwellers might get assistance when the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZVAC) completes its assessment of the food situation in urban a

reas this week. It seeks to determine who needs food aid.

The assessment was commissioned at the end of September by donor agencies to look into the situation in the country’s urban areas that have not been spared by the food shortages and the ravaging drought.

ZVAC chairperson Joyce Chanetsa confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent that the urban assessment was complete and that their team was analysing data before meeting at the end of this week to evaluate its findings.

“The first preliminary report will be out before the end of this week. We have finished compiling the data and we are now analysing the results and any action that will be taken will arise from the preliminary report,” said Chanetsa.

The assessment comes shortly after the World Food Programme (WFP) warned that the food situation in urban areas was getting critical.

The WFP says it is facing a US$111 million shortfall from a US$197 million international appeal it sent out to donors in June this year.

The United States Agency for International Development in August launched an urban intervention programme whereby the agency would subsidise the price of sorghum meal in some urban areas.

The sorghum meal is popular with urbanites who cannot afford the ever escalating prices of other foodstuffs.

Chanetsa said the urban assessment covered the whole country and included mining and border towns, growth points and the major cities of Bulawayo and Harare.

The completion of the urban food assessment comes a week after the WFP launched another urgent appeal for donations for Zimbabwe’s over five million hungry people.

Many households in urban areas can no longer afford basic food commodities because of escalating prices and a high inflation rate.

Inflation is currently at 526%, according to figures issued last Tuesday by the Central Statistical Office.

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