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  1. ITV Report

'Quarter' of Zimbabweans in need of food aid following drought

Villagers in Zimbabwe collect their monthly food ration provided by the United Nations World Food Programme. Credit: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

More than a quarter of Zimbabwe's population need feed aid due to drought, the country's vice president has said.

Emmerson Mnangagwa called on Zimbabweans and the private sector for help, as he said the country will need to import 1.4 million tonnes of grain to deal with the crisis.

I am therefore appealing to the private sector and the people of Zimbabwe, inclusive of those in the diaspora, to support this emergency relief programme.

– Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe's vice president.

Worst drought in a quarter of a century

A state of emergency in most rural parts of the country was declared on Friday by President Robert Mugabe.

A state of emergency in most rural parts of the country was declared on Friday by President Robert Mugabe. Credit: REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Declaring a state of disaster allows international donors to raise money quickly to provide food aid to Zimbabwe, which has said it will step up imports of the staple maize by buying up to 700,000 tonnes this year to avert hunger.

The southern African nation is still struggling to overcome a steep 1999-2008 recession that saw its economy contract by nearly 50%.

Saviour Kasukuwere, the local government minister, said in a statement on Thursday the country had received below 75% of normal rains, with up to three quarters of crops failing in some regions.

The El Nino weather pattern has brought poor rains to already-parched southern Africa, hitting crops, including in South Africa, the region's biggest maize grower.