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Drought threatens Zimbabwe with famine

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — In recent months, Buhari has experienced one disaster after another, but after the devastating tropical cyclone Eddie, the region is suffering from a serious drought threatening famine.

Omega Kovakunizu, 40, remembers as if it happened yesterday, the heavy rain that rained on her small village of Mahuinga six months ago. “There was heavy rain all week,” she says of six children. “Some people lost their homes.”

“Water seeped into the walls, but luckily our huts held up.”

But the crops did not withstand. By the time Hurricane Eide had arrived, farmers had abandoned the cultivation of maize, which had been completely eradicated by the drought. They hoped to cultivate other more heat-resistant maize varieties.

But their efforts were in vain because what they planted was swamped by the hurricane and began to sprout from the leg. “It is impossible to eat sprouting seeds,” said Omega Kovakaniso.

After Beira was devastated in central Mozambique, where 650 people were killed, Eddie continued on to Zimbabwe, where more than 350 people were killed and tens of thousands of people affected.

Residents of the Buheira region, who have faced frequent droughts, have been helped by a World Food Program (WFP) plane of $ 8 a month per person, oil and food rations for children.

“It was enough to get three meals a day and pay for school fees and meals at the school,” she said.

– “The dam alone can save us” –

This assistance, which is limited to the periods between the two seasons of the harvest, has stopped, but the drought has not stopped.

Among the village huts, the land is dusty and there are only a few trees with little green leaves. The family had to adapt their daily routine, giving up lunch and eating only a light soup called “Sadhna” for dinner.

“The children are collecting wild fruits and in the evening they eat a soup, which is grown locally,” said the housewife, but that is not enough.

Drinking water is no better. The well that you dug in her garden is almost dry. “Building a dam alone can save us,” she said.

In the surrounding villages, thousands of people are food insecure due to poor harvests.

The United Nations says the number will reach 7.7 million people – about half of Zimbabwe’s population – by January, including 2.2 million in cities.

In August, United Nations agencies launched a $ 331 million fundraising appeal that they deemed necessary to help the country, which is already mired in a catastrophic economic crisis.

Pending this, residents of Bohra are struggling to survive.

In her village, Johnny, Fungai Mugomba, a 49-year-old mother of seven, along with my other two wives, founded a small company to sell scrap.

– “Need help” –

Often, this scrap was exchanged for a little food and once I got a cow. “I put small calves before I got them completely,” she said.

The Zimbabwean government confirms that it has allocated Zimbabwe $ 1.8 billion ($ 120 million in official price) from its low budget to produce “strategic crops.”

But in a country plunged into a crisis 20 years ago, these crops are long overdue.

Bohira’s administrative officer does not hide that time is running out for the 300,000 people in the area. “The number of people in need of assistance exceeded 100,000 in March,” Freeman Mavizade said.

Authorities have encouraged farmers to produce drought-resistant crops instead of traditional ones and even identified sites where irrigation can be secured. But Mavizade cannot say when they can start production.

“Farmers really need help to plow their land,” he said.

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