News Reporter

HARARE – The Italian Government has contributed €250,000 (US$280,656) to respond to the needs of communities affected by Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe.

The contribution, provided to the World Food Programme (WFP), is meant to support immediate food needs in the worst-affected areas of the country.

An estimated 250,000 people in seven districts of Zimbabwe were directly affected by Cyclone Idai, which made landfall in Zimbabwe on 15 March 2019, severely disrupting livelihoods and intensifying existing critical food security needs.

“We are pleased to be able to make this contribution in partnership with WFP,” said Italian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Carlo Perrotta.

“This was especially made possible with the valued support of our Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs in charge of International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re. In her words, ‘Cooperation – as implied by the term itself – is a way of working together for something tangible. That something is part of our future.”

Many people affected by the cyclone were already considered food insecure, with some 5.3 million people in need of humanitarian aid nationwide from now through June, following economic instability, an erratic rainy season and long mid-season dry spells that severely impacted crops.

WFP Zimbabwe Country Director, Eddie Rowe acknowledged the boost effect the donation would have in their operations.

“WFP is grateful for the generous contribution from the people of Italy, which has made it possible for vulnerable households to meet their food and nutrition needs in such difficult circumstances. Even in the face of disaster, WFP is working to support the achievement of a Zero Hunger Zimbabwe. We will continue to work with affected communities to ensure their immediate needs are met, whilst mobilizing to support them as they rebuild their lives.”

The contribution by the Government of Italy comes at a time when WFP is starting a three-month programme of general food distributions to cyclone-affected populations in May, targeting 220,000 people across five districts: Chimanimani, Chipinge, Buhera, Mutare and Bikita.

The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.