Global child rights organisation, Plan International is predicting severe drought, bordering on famine, in a number of provinces in Zimbabwe, unless action is taken now to address the food insecurities, and water shortages, affecting vulnerable families.
With 2.8 million people in Zimbabwe alone, including worryingly 720,000 children, affected by the weather phenomenon El Nino, this is a major crisis for southern Africa.
The United Nations has estimated that €310 million is needed over the next 12 months to meet the nutritional needs of everyone affected.
Plan International Ireland CEO, David Dalton said:
Right across southern Africa, communities are being ravaged by drought and rocketing food prices.
“This drought is much worse than expected. There is simply not enough food to go around. Villagers are selling assets and borrowing money from others just to get by. This isn’t sustainable.”
Plan International is providing food to those at most risk, supporting new irrigation projects and helping farmers diversity their farming away from maize and towards less water-intense crops such as sorghum and millet.
The global community needs to act now to stop this drought snowballing any further. Millions of lives are in jeopardy.
“A global response is needed if disaster is to be averted, not only in Zimbabwe but also in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Timor Leste and Paraguay. Anything less will put the lives of millions of children at risk,” concluded Dalton.