Food aid ben­e­fi­cia­ries in­crease

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nqo­bile Tshili Chron­i­cle Correspondent

THE Gov­ern­ment has in­creased food aid distri­bu­tion to vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in Bu­l­awayo from 3 000 to 14 000 as the drought sit­u­a­tion cou­pled with un­em­ploy­ment con­tinue to bite.

Bu­l­awayo Pro­vin­cial So­cial Welfare of­fi­cer Mr Chriswell Nyakudya said the Gov­ern­ment in­creased the num­ber of ben­e­fi­cia­ries af­ter re­al­is­ing that more peo­ple were in need of as­sis­tance.

He said the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion was push­ing lo­cals into fur­ther poverty and cited the clo­sure of com­pa­nies and an in­crease in job­less­ness as ma­jor poverty driv­ing fac­tors. Mr Nyakudya said start­ing this month, the so­cial welfare depart­ment is ex­pect­ing to dis­trib­ute 714,5 tonnes of maize monthly, up from 156,6 tonnes.

“We’ve in­creased the num­ber of ben­e­fi­cia­ries to 14 301 from 3 000. The di­rec­tor of so­cial welfare has ap­proved these num­bers and we’re now wait­ing for the Grain Mar­ket­ing Board to con­firm that it will be able to dis­trib­ute maize start­ing this Wed­nes­day (to­day),” he said.

Mr Nyakudya said even af­ter in­creas­ing the num­ber of ben­e­fi­cia­ries, his of­fice still be­lieves more peo­ple need as­sis­tance. He said in­dus­tries were shut­ting down, leav­ing more res­i­dents in need of food aid.

Mr Nyakudya said the Gov­ern­ment has started train­ing ur­ban vul­ner­a­bil­ity as­sess­ment teams which will pro­vide sci­en­tific re­search statis­tics on peo­ple need­ing food aid.

“The ur­ban vul­ner­a­bil­ity as­sess­ment com­mit­tee is sup­posed to pro­vide ex­pert ev­i­dence on peo­ple need­ing as­sis­tance in ur­ban ar­eas. They are be­ing trained in Bu­l­awayo be­fore be­ing de­ployed to the ground,” he said.

Mr Nyakudya said ex­pert find­ings would com­ple­ment ef­forts to erad­i­cate hunger.

“When the Pres­i­dent de­clared that drought was a na­tional dis­as­ter, more fo­cus was given to eight ru­ral prov­inces be­cause of the re­port he re­ceived from those prov­inces. So the com­ing up of the ur­ban vul­ner­a­bil­ity as­sess­ment com­mit­tee will pro­vide a clear pic­ture of the sit­u­a­tion in Bu­l­awayo and Harare prov­inces,” he said.

The Ru­ral Liveli­hoods As­sess­ment re­port by the Zim­babwe Vul­ner­a­bil­ity As­sess­ment Com­mit­tee (ZIMVAC) saw the Gov­ern­ment dis­burs­ing more than $2.1 mil­lion to sup­port the vul­ner­a­ble in ru­ral ar­eas dur­ing the first half of 2016.

Mr Nyakudya said the so­cial welfare depart­ment will be rein­tro­duc­ing har­monised cash trans­fers this month af­ter they were sus­pended in Fe­bru­ary.

He said the har­monised cash trans­fer sys­tem was sus­pended fol­low­ing the dry­ing up of cof­fers.

Mr Nyakudya said the Gov­ern­ment would rein­tro­duce har­monised cash trans­fers in part­ner­ship with for­eign donors.

He said the fund tar­gets fam­i­lies with chil­dren as it is sen­si­tive to­wards the pro­tec­tion of chil­dren.

Mr Nyakudya called on civic so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions and the busi­ness sec­tor to in­crease their vis­i­bil­ity in com­mu­ni­ties and as­sist the vul­ner­a­ble.

He said the pre­vail­ing eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment made it chal­leng­ing for the Gov­ern­ment to do it alone. —

@nqot­shili

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