NZ aid to help response to food crisis in Zimbabwe

Tuesday 7 October 2008, 6:50PM
By Rt. Hon Helen Clark

The food supply situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated sharply in recent years.  It has been estimated that 3.8 million people in Zimbabwe presently need food assistance, with this number expected to rise to 5.1 million by January.

"Zimbabwe has limited ability to import food due to soaring world food prices and lack of foreign currency reserves in Zimbabwe," Helen Clark said. 

"The funding from the New Zealand government's international aid and development agency, NZAID, will deliver food assistance in Zimbabwe through the International Federation of the Red Cross in partnership with the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society.

"Access restrictions imposed on the humanitarian community during the election by the previous Zimbabwe government are in the process of being lifted following the announcement of a power sharing agreement between the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and ZANU-PF.

"This has allowed non-government organisations and the United Nations to re-establish operations to provide basic life-saving assistance in Zimbabwe.

"The international community is however, still waiting on Robert Mugabe to fulfil the commitments he made under the power sharing agreement, to share executive power with Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC.

"New Zealand remains deeply concerned at Mugabe's apparent delaying tactics and shift from previous commitments he has made to form an inclusive government in which executive power is shared with the MDC. 

"These actions are exacerbating the food crisis faced by many ordinary Zimbabweans," Helen Clark said.