China has pledged food relief aid worth US$10 million towards assisting vulnerable communities that are facing hunger and starvation owing to drought that hit Zimbabwe this year.
By Donald Nyarota
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun told 263Chat that the food aid distributed through the World Food Programme will be an extension of non-conditional humanitarian assistance for vulnerable communities which will strengthen diplomatic ties between the two nations.
Shaochun also said the humanitarian assistance was an additional response to the call for assistance by government to ensure food security.
According to the WFP coordinated Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC), an estimated 5,5 million people (59 percent of rural households) in Zimbabwe are food insecure and require emergency cereal (maize grain).
“This is just part of the humanitarian aid that we provide to Zimbabwe, and this year we are providing up to US$10 million for vulnerable communities.
“This aid will be distributed through the agencies particularly in cooperation with World Food Program from November to next February (2020). It is an additional package because this year we have provided free aid through our bilateral channels including distribution of rice.
“We know the problems that the country is facing in terms of food security and even financially, we are always ready to assist whenever government makes a request for assistance.
“When we assist we don’t have any conditions, we do not ask the Zimbabwean government to do the so called genuine reforms, we just assist because we have a long history of good diplomatic ties,” said Shaochun.
Shaochun also revealed that China will also bankroll the sinking of at least 1000 boreholes, with the first 500 expected to be finished before year end and the remainder by next year.
“We are also in the process of drilling 500 boreholes as an extension of our free aid to Zimbabwe, which we hope will be completed before the end of this year, and next year we will do another batch.
“We hope that within our ability we can do our best to provide support and assistance to the Zimbabwean people and its government because we are an all-weather friend of the Zimbabwean people,” said Shaochun.