R3.3 bn of urgently needed food aid in Zimbabwe – UN

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The UN and Zimbabwean authorities demanded an emergency $ 234 million request on Thursday for more than five million people in dire need of food due to drought and a weak economy.

The appeal came when UN Humanitarian Affairs chief Mark Lowcock visited the country this week to hear first-hand about the situation.

The funds will provide "urgent food, health, water, sanitation, hygiene and protection to 2.2 million people of the 5.3 million people in need in the next six months," the UN said in a statement amounts to one third of the population of the country.

"There is an acute shortage of essential medicines in the regions of the country, and increasing food insecurity has increased the risk of gender-based violence, especially for women and girls," it said.

An AFP government document says that around 7.5 million people in rural and urban areas will need food aid between February 2019 and March 2010.

"I give $ 10 million as the first call today," said Lowcock during the official Harare start.

Lowcock had previously held talks with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and foreign and finance ministers.

During the talks, "he urged the government to look for ways to exchange legitimate grievances with people, including through the national dialogue on the economic challenges that the country faces, and to avoid any reports of violence, thoroughly and transparently. "

Protests erupted in Zimbabwe in January after the president announced that fuel prices would double in a country already suffering from rising living costs and regular shortages of raw materials.

Troops and police were used after extensive looting and riots. They brutally quashed the protests and killed at least 17 people, hundreds were injured, dozens with gunshot wounds.

Zimbabwe's economy has been in a fresh downturn since 2012 and in January, official inflation rose from 42.09% in December 2018 to 57%.

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