The European Union has released a further €16.8m (roughly R270m at current exchange rates) in humanitarian food aid for Zimbabwe.
The regional block said this week a severe drought that has affected many countries in Southern Africa has been "compounded in Zimbabwe by governance challenges and a worsening economic situation".
Zimbabwe is also experiencing a crippling economic crisis, which critics say is a result of economic mismanagement by President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government. This comes as a new report by the United Nations says Zimbabwe's real GDP is projected to shrink by 5.5% in 2019, and by 2.5% in 2020. Inflation in Zimbabwe is estimated at 521%, while the country's dollar lost 90% of its value in 2019. Citizens are also facing power outages of more than 18 hours a day in come instances.
"In addition to providing food and nutrition, the funds will improve access to basic health care and clean water, and provide protection to counter the risks that people’s fragility exposes them to," said the EU.
The funding for Zimbabwe is part of a larger support package of over €22m. The remaining amount will be channelled to providing food assistance and nutrition support in Eswatini, Madagascar, Lesotho and Zambia.
In November 2019, the EU provided an additional €53m in aid under its National Indicative Programme.
Announcing the aid package for the region, Janez Lenarcic, the EU’s Commissioner for Crisis Management, said, “Many poor households in drought-affected areas in southern African countries are struggling to have enough food due to crop failure, reduced access to water and, in some places, unaffordable food prices in markets. EU humanitarian aid will help deliver food to those most in need and tackle the hunger crisis in fragile rural communities.”
In Zimbabwe alone, a 7.7 million people - about half of the country’s population - are at the risk of facing severe hunger.