US increases COVID-19 funding to Zim

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Rauna Katumwa

Windhoek-The United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has committed an additional $10 million in response to COVID-19.

The funds will go to the World Food Programme (WFP) for humanitarian assistance for nearly 100,000 vulnerable people in eight urban areas.

Information shows that with this additional funding, U.S assistance to the COVID-19 response in Zimbabwe exceeds $18 million .USAID has provided nearly $15 million, the U.S centres for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided $3 million, and PEPFAR has reprogrammed $150,000 to address COVUD-19.

USAID will collaborate with WFP to address increasing food insecurity in urban areas as more than 2.2 million Zimbabweans in urban areas face food insecurity as a result of rising food prices, WFP estimated that this number has increased by as much as one million people as a result of COVID-19 lockdown which further constrained the economy and severely affected Zimbabweans whose livelihoods depend on the informal sector. The funding will ensure that nearly 100 000 people in urban districts have access to cash transfers that will ensure adequate food supplies between July and December 2020.

“This additional funding, which will help people facing increased food insecurity in Zimbabwe’s urban areas, demonstrates the U.S commitment to the people of Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans in urban areas need to practice social distancing measures to protect themselves from COVID-19 and continue to feed families,” US Ambassador to Zimbabwe- Brian Nichols said.

USAID‘s emergency assistance to urban areas complements the more than $110 million that USAID provided to rural areas in 2019, which reached more than 1.8 million rural Zimbabwe across 22 districts. The US remains committed to supporting the people of Zimbabwe to improve the health outcomes, increase agricultural productivity, stimulate economic growth, protect human rights and improve democratic governance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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