Zimbabwe drought

A woman fetches water from a spring in Harare. — Tafadzwa Ufumeli/Getty Images

More than 2 million people in Zimbabwe are facing starvation after a severe drought that affected food harvests, the World Food Programme said in a report.

“We are talking about people who truly are marching towards starvation if we are not here to help them. We are facing a drought unlike any that we have seen in a long time,” David Beasley said in the Zimbabwean capital Harare on Tuesday.

The U.N. in Zimbabwe and the government launched a humanitarian appeal for $331 million to assist those affected in the southern African nation.

Nearly 5.5 million people — a third of Zimbabwe’s population — will need food assistance by 2020, UNICEF said in a report in June.

Zimbabwe is battling the impact of droughts that occurred between October and May, and the effect of a powerful cyclone that ripped through the eastern parts of the country.

The drought has also depleted water sources, leaving more than 2 million unable to access clean water in the country. Zimbabwe is also facing a crippling economic crisis that has taken a toll on the welfare of its citizens.

Roseline Marenyi, 30, a mother of two who lives in the Harare neighborhood of Mbare, told CNN she has had to cut down on daily food consumption due to rising prices.

“Life is really getting tough. We can only afford two meals a day and this is not good for my children’s nutrition. I think we are poorer this year than any other year,” Marenyi said.

Eddie Rowe, WFP country director, told CNN on Tuesday that the economic challenges had worsened the food crisis.

“The food security situation in the country has been compounded by the economic situation. This year we have more hungry Zimbabweans than ever before,” Rowe said.

Zimbabwe declared the drought an emergency in July and government officials told local media millions may go hungry across the country.

Harare firewood trader Never Mapako, 40, told CNN he had registered his family with a local NGO giving food items.

“I recently registered myself and my family for monthly food allowance because I can’t continue like this. It’s a desperate situation, especially for us in the urban areas,” Mapako said. — (CNN)

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