Zimbabwe faces its worst food shortages in four years following a drought and poor harvest, the U.N. World Food Programme said on Tuesday, a month after veteran President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF disputed re-election.
The agency said it was working with the government and other international aid organisations to provide food assistance to about a fifth of Zimbabwe’s 13 million people from October until the next crop harvest in March/April 2014.
“Hunger is on the rise in Zimbabwe with an estimated 2.2 million people–one in four of the rural population–expected to need food assistance during the pre-harvest period early next year,” it said in a statement.
That is the highest number of Zimbabweans requiring food assistance since early 2009, when more than half the population relied on such aid.
That was the peak of a decade-long economic crisis critics blame on Mugabe’s policies, notably his government’s seizure of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to landless blacks.