Local News

President Mnangagwa declares El Niño induced drought a national disaster

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has officially declared the El Niño-induced drought, which severely impacted the 2023/24 summer cropping season, as a state of disaster.

This declaration aims to mobilize resources and prevent the looming threat of widespread starvation.

In a national address delivered from the State House on Wednesday morning, President Mnangagwa invoked Section 27, Subsection 1 of the Civil Protection Act (Chapter 10:6) to address the crisis effectively. He said:

The country had put a total of 1 728 897 hectares under maize crops and other cereals. Ordinary this could have guaranteed a mouthful harvest in our country. Further worsening the season characterised by poor rainfall was the outbreak of four army worms across the country.

The Zimbabwe livelihoods assessment committee report for 2023 revealed that approximately 2.7 million people were expected to be food insecure from April until the end of March 2024.

While we have been able to far to fend for this food insecure population, the El Nino drought has now compounded our current situation with food insecurity levels going beyond the projected 2.7 million people.

Following our agricultural and food systems strategies, we are ordinarily a nation capable of feeding ourselves with strategic grain reserve of 189 568 tonnes of cereals. Our nation faces a food deficit of nearly 680 000 tonnes of grain. This deficit will be bridged by imports…

To that end, I do hereby declare a nationwide State of Disaster, due to the El Nino- induced drought. Accordingly, I now invoke Section 27, Subsection 1 of the Civil Protection Act (Chapter10:6), which provides that: ‘if any time it appears to the President that any disaster of such a nature and extent that extra ordinary measures are necessary to assist and protect the persons affected or likely to be affected by the disaster in any area of the country, the Presidency may, in such a manner as he considers fit, declare that, with effect from a date specified by him , a state of disaster exists within an area or areas specified by him in the Declaration’ President.

Last week, the government established a purchasing price of US$390 per tonne for surplus grains during the 2022/23 agricultural season, concurrently launching a grain mop-up initiative to strengthen grain reserves.

Meanwhile, Zambia and Malawi recently declared the drought as a national disaster. President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia said the country’s agricultural sector has been devastated leaving more than one million families requiring food aid. He said the drought had already affected 84 of the country’s 116 districts.

Malawi declared a state of disaster over drought in 23 of its 28 districts. Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera also revealed that the country needed more than US$200 million in humanitarian assistance.

Related Articles

Back to top button