THE United Nations in Zimbabwe resident representative, Bishow Parajuli, came face to face with some the desperate situations confronting the country’s rural communities during his tour of Matabeleland North province.
During Parajuli’s two-day tour of Matabeleland North, meant to appraise humanitarian and development projects and to raise awareness on the seriousness of the El Niño induced drought in the province, the UN local boss observed firsthand the desperation in some of the communities.
The UN Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme resident representative, Parajuli, was accompanied, during the Matabeleland North visit, by officials from the Office of the President and Cabinet; UN agencies mainly the WFP and FAO; and Diplomatic corps.
“In Binga, the delegation observed that the situation is dire and the gravity of the drought severely affected farming and fishing communities. The farming communities have lost their harvest to drought and had no chance of replanting. The situation in Binga district calls for an increased and continued humanitarian assistance, including food, nutrition, school meal, animal feed and water.
Many villagers across the country have planted two to four times, but all their efforts have come to naught.
The visit took the UN delegation to the province’s hardest hit districts of Bubi, Lupane and Binga where the UN, together with its development partners, are assisting communities cope with the drought situation through several projects.
While in Lupane, the delegation visited rehabilitation efforts funded by the European Union and technical support from FAO and LEAD. The delegation visited a borehole in Mkhosi, where the community has access to clean water and about 2,000 cattle are serviced. Prior to rehabilitation the community had been travelling 12km to fetch drinking water, while they had been filling a 20 000-litre dip tank with water from the nearby Shangani River.
The group also visited Chininga dam, in Binga, which was constructed under the WFP-funded Food-for-Assets programme. At least 300 households, amounting to approximately 1 500 beneficiaries, are benefiting from this programme, and the dam is supplying them with water for horticultural crop production and domestic use. In addition, 1 500 cattle are accessing drinking water from the same dam.
To date, the UN agencies – with support from development partners and in cooperation with non-governmental organisation – have reached more than one million affected people across the country and generated US$76 million in funding from partners, including US/USAID, UK/DFID, EU/ECHO, Canada, Switzerland and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.
“Following the Zimbabwe government’s declaration of a State of Disaster on February 3, 2016 and the updated ZimVAC report of recent weeks, the UN and its humanitarian partners have been further refining the joint humanitarian response plan so as to address needs in the following areas: agriculture; food; health; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); nutrition; child protection; and education,” said Parajuli.
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