The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has made an appeal for 204 million United States dollars to help cover the cost of providing basic nutrition for 6 months for over 4 million people (about 3.5 million in rural areas and 0.55 million in urban areas) of the most vulnerable people in Zimbabwe after the nation's government said that at least 7.6 million people accounting for about half of the nation's population have fallen into poverty in 2020. The WFP warns that millions of Zimbabweans could face hunger in the coming months due to a devastating 3 year-long drought, prolonged economic instability, political instability, and the crippling effects of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Treasury data indicates that Zimbabwe spent 458 million United States dollars importing food, mostly grain, during the first 9 months of the year compared to just over 140 million United States dollars in the same period of 2019, leading to large trade deficits and an unusually severe outflow of cash.
WFP representative Francesca Erdelmann in Zimbabwe said that currently, roughly half of rural Zimbabweans have been forced to skip meals, reduce portion sizes, and/or sell personal belongings just to cope with the current circumstances.
Critics of the current government also blame poor policies that have pushed inflation to some of its worst levels in over a decade for the current economic crisis in the nation. According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, the month-on-month inflation rate of Zimbabwe in November 2020 was 2.25%.
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