U.S. to feed half a million Zimbabweans until October after drought

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 20, 2016 10:32 AM

HARARE (Reuters) - Nearly half a million Zimbabweans will continue to receive food aid for another six months after the United States provided an extra $20 million to help ease hunger in twelve of the country's districts hit by the worst drought in a generation.

An El Nino-induced drought, that has hit Southern Africa and cut the output of the staple maize crop, has left close to 4 million Zimbabweans needing food aid.

More than 450,000 people, who faced a grim future after a food aid program ended in March, will now continue to receive food or cash until October, when the next rainy season starts, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said.

The additional $20 million will bring to $55 million the amount provided by the U.S. to feed hungry Zimbabweans since last year in June.

The U.S. is a major humanitarian donor in Zimbabwe but has since 2002 provided aid through agencies like the United Nations World Food Programmes after accusing President Robert Mugabe of vote fraud and human rights abuses. Mugabe rejects the charges.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by James Macharia)