WFP has welcomed the lifting of a ban on NGO activities in Zimbabwe and will immediately begin scaling up its food assistance operations across the country.
The ban on NGO activities prevented WFP from providing food assistance to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in June, July and August, worsening the already precarious humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.
WFP will now be able to launch its massive vulnerable group feeding (VGF) programme, which aims to assist millions of people in rural areas facing food shortages over the next seven months. That programme was to have started in August.
Working with its 14 local and international NGO partners, WFP will do its best to reach as many of its planned beneficiaries as possible in September. However, WFP might not be able to provide food assistance to all 1.7 million targeted beneficiaries this month since the rigorous registration process will take some weeks to complete.
According to the FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission, 2 million people will face food shortages in September – a figure that will rise to 3.8 million by December and 5.1 million in the first quarter of 2009 before the annual harvest in April.