Zimbabwe helps meet refugees’ food needs

-No matter the circumstances that have pushed refugees to flee their countries, we serve them without discrimination and ensure that they are able to put food on their tables, Francesca Erdelmann, WFP Representative and Country Director in Zimbabwe, said.

-John Cassim

HARARE, Zimbabwe (CZ) – The Zimbabwean government has contributed 4.400 metric tones of maize grain to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to meet the food needs of refugees living at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge.

WFP Country Director, Francesca Erdelmann and Simon Masanga Permanent Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, announce a donation of maize from the GoZ to the Tongogara Refugee Camp

The contribution, comes at a critical time – when funding for refugees is limited and follows the commitment made by President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, in response to the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres’ call for pledges towards humanitarian assistance.

‘Zimbabwe is committed to fulfil its international obligation to protect refugees and asylum seekers. This in-kind contribution is a clear sign that the country walks the talk.  The Government appreciates the partnership with the World Food Programme in ensuring that refugees and asylum seekers domiciled in Zimbabwe are food secure’, said Simon Masanga, Permanent Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

Under the partnership, WFP will cover the costs of transport, storage, handling, milling and fortification of the maize with funds from international donors. A first batch of 2,170 metric tones will be uplifted in the coming weeks.

‘No matter the circumstances that have pushed refugees to flee their countries, we serve them without discrimination and ensure that they are able to put food on their tables,’ said Francesca Erdelmann, WFP Representative and Country Director in Zimbabwe. ‘Around the world refugees are living longer away from home, more than ever before, so we are heartened to see that countries like Zimbabwe are putting forward solutions and working to ensure that refugees have a better life.’

Zimbabwe has shown continued solidarity towards refugees, hosting families who have been forced to leave their countries since 1984. Initially established to serve refugees fleeing the Mozambique civil war, Tongogara Refugee Camp is today home to people affected by conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Mozambique, and other countries.

WFP provides food assistance to 12,000 refugees living at the camp every month. Refugees will receive hybrid rations (in-kind maize and cash), designed to meet the daily nutrient requirements.

WFP has been present in Zimbabwe since 1982 and started food distribution activities in the country in 2002, during the southern Africa drought. WFP’s activities are aligned to Zimbabwe’s   national priorities in areas of food and nutrition security.

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