The World Food Program (WFP) plans to double the number of people it will give food aid in Zimbabwe to 4.1 million by January 2020.
The UN agency said it urgently required an estimated 293 million U.S. dollars for the emergency response, with less than 30 percent of that sum secured already.
The country is reeling from the effects of drought, flooding and an economic meltdown that has left 7.7 million people, half the country’s population, in dire need of food aid.
“We are deep into a vicious cycle of skyrocketing malnutrition that’s hitting women and children hardest and will be tough to break,” WFP executive director David Beasley said.
“With poor rains forecast yet again in the run-up to the main harvest in April, the scale of hunger in the country is going to get worse before it gets better.”
The WFP said it will provide the needy with life-saving rations of cereal, pulses and vegetable oil and a protective nutrition ration for children less than five years.
It plans to source, purchase and deliver to the country more than 240,000 metric tonnes of commodities until June 2020, a challenge it said was more daunting considering that drought and flooding have eroded food supplies across much of Africa.
Zimbabwe’s hunger crisis has been exacerbated by a dire shortage of foreign currency, soaring inflation, high unemployment, lack of fuel, prolonged power outages and large scale livestock losses, afflicting urban residents and rural villagers alike.