World

US: 2.2 million Zimbabweans to need food handouts

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The United States says an estimated 2 .2 million Zimbabweans, or one-fourth of the rural population, will need emergency food in the October to March "hunger season" ahead of the next harvests.

The U.S. Agency for International Development said in a statement Tuesday studies by donor agencies and Zimbabwean authorities recorded a 32 percent increase in recipients needing aid before March compared to the same period in 2012-2013. It said it has contributed $25 million toward latest food relief through the United Nations food agency.

Food shortages are blamed on erratic rains and shortages of seeds and fertilizers in the troubled economy. The USAID statement said another $100 million recently went to humanitarian groups distributing food and working to ease "the underlying causes of chronic food insecurity and malnutrition."

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