US$200 000 Food and Nutrition Boost For Tongogara Refugees

THE Republic of Korea has donated an amount to the tune of US$200 000 to support critical food and nutrition needs for at least 14 000 refugees of Tongogara Refugee Camp (TRC).

By Michael Gwarisa

Speaking at the official handover ceremony of the financial facility, World Food Program (WFP) Country Representative Mr Eddie Rowe said the gesture by the Korean government would improve the daily food requirements of refugees at a time when the country was experiencing high demand for food assistance.

Refugee populations around the world are one of the most vulnerable. At a time when Zimbabwe and Southern Africa is faced with massive humanitarian needs because of drought and economic woes, this already at risk community is struggling even more.

“The support from the people and government of Korea will make a great difference in the lives of the refugee population here,” said Mr Rowe.

He added that the funds provided by the Republic of Korea would enable WFP in partnership with the Zimbabwean government, the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) and Tere des Hommes, a Southern Africa based NGO to continue providing much needed food and nutrition assistance.

“Due to their refugee status, TRC resident s are unable to seek employment outside the camp and internal income generating opportunities are limited. Therefore, most households rely solely on WFP food assistance to survive.

“WFP’s support to refugees in Zimbabwe faces ongoing funding shortfalls. The Republic of Korea’s contribution comes in the wake of an urgent plea for funds by WFP, which is working to provide 4.1 million people in Zimbabwe with emergency food assistance amid the country’s current hunger crisis.”

In Zimbabwe, more than 7.7 million people or half of the country’s population is food insecure and more than US$200 million is required to provide people with lifesaving food aid during the peak of the 2020 lean season.

“As we move deeper into this year’s hunger season, more than 7.7 million people across the country are expected to be food insecure. Increasing food needs are being realised across rural and urban areas. WFP has scaled up its lean season assistance operations significantly with a view to reaching 4.1 million of the most vulnerable people between now and April 2020.

“However, a significant funding gap of US$205 million still stands in the way. We hope that other members of the international community will follow Korea’s example and choose to support the provision of life saving food assistance during this difficult time,” said Mr Rowe.

Republic of Korea Ambassador to Zimbabwe, His Excellency, Cho Jai chel  said the US$200 000 food assistance facility was a  means of fulfilling Korea’s commitment of becoming the bridge between developing and developed countries.

“The Korean government, along with the WFP has been providing a lot of support in developing countries’ food assistance. Cooperation with the Zimbabwe government is also being strengthened. Korea views Zimbabwe as a valuable partner in development, as well as partner in cooperation of all areas.

“Despite the current challenges, I believe Zimbabwe has great potential of growth and brighter future. To bring out Zimbabwe’s great potential, the Korean government and people of Korea have been actively sharing our experience and know-how of development with ‘Rising Zimbabwe,” said Ambassador Cho.

Meanwhile, Commissioner for Refugees in Zimbabwe, Mr Tamirepi Tirivavi  said Zimbabwe was one of the countries hosting the highest numbers of refugees and asylum seekers, with close to 15 000 people in its care.

Statistical projections also predict a possible increase by 1200 or more in 2020. As the number of refugees and asylum seekers continues to increase, so is the need for social service assistance and other life serving interventions.

“There is therefore need for continued synergies through burden and responsibility sharing. It is at this point in time that your extended support compliments the efforts by WFP, UNHCR and the government of Zimbabwe towards safeguarding food security and health well-being of refugees and asylum seekers in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Tirivavi.



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