UK increases humanitarian assistance in response to El Nino drought

The United Kingdom has announced an increase in humanitarian aid in Zimbabwe, through the Department for International Development (DFID), announcing an additional £40m contribution, making a total of £55.6m ($73.3m).

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The UK was one of the first donors to respond to widespread food insecurity resulting from a poor 2015 harvest and the El Nino induced drought in Zimbabwe.

Because of the drought, 4.1 million people are expected to be unable to meet their food needs during the peak impact of the El Nino induced drought from January to March 2017.

Since October 2015, through its partners CARE International and World Vision, the UK has provided humanitarian assistance to support over 360,000 people through unconditional electronic mobile cash payments, in fifteen districts worst affected by the drought. The scale up of its assistance means that the UK will continue to help vulnerable households meet seasonal needs ahead of the planting season and over the peak of the hunger gap, until the next harvest.

Annabel Gerry, Head of DFID Zimbabwe :

I am proud that the UK has been able to deliver this support through innovative electronic mobile payments. The use of this technology means that our support, now extended to the end of March 2017, directly reaches those most in need. Evidence from the programme has shown that this allows women greater control over household budgets, as well as stimulating existing local markets.

UK humanitarian support from September 2015 to March 2017 now totals £55.6m ($73m).

This includes:

  • an additional £32m for electronic cash payments to the poorest, making a total of £42m ($54.6m);
  • an additional £8m ($10m) for prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition, through which 160,000 children will be screened for malnutrition, and 12,000 will receive treatment; and
  • £5.6m ($7.3m) for child protection.

The project also aims to prevent negative coping strategies, and to support good nutritional practices. Improved knowledge of vulnerable household’s coping strategies is expected to support future resilience programming.

With information from British Embassy presser