Mnangagwa Declares ‘State of Disaster’ As El Niño-Induced Drought Ravages Zimbabwe

By Judith Matanire

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has officially declared a state of national disaster in Zimbabwe as the country grapples with a severe drought exacerbated by the El Niño weather phenomenon. The declaration comes amid growing concerns over food security and water scarcity across the nation.

Zambia in late February and Malawi in March have also declared state of national disaster, as the El Niño global weather pattern-induced drought triggers a humanitarian crisis in Southern Africa.

In a televised address to the nation, President Mnangagwa acknowledged the severity of the situation and outlined the government’s response to the crisis.

“Preliminary assessments show that Zimbabwe requires in excess of $2 billion towards various interventions we envisage in our national response,” Mnangagwa said.

He emphasized the need for urgent action to mitigate the effects of the drought and ensure the well-being of the population.

“The country’s top priority, is “securing food for all Zimbabweans. No Zimbabwean must succumb to, or die from hunger.”

The declaration of a national disaster will enable the government to access additional resources and mobilize assistance from international partners to support relief efforts.

President Mnangagwa also called on citizens to conserve water, use resources wisely, and support each other during this challenging time.

The El Niño weather pattern, characterized by warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, has led to below-normal rainfall in Zimbabwe, exacerbating an already challenging situation in a country where millions of people are food insecure.

The impact of the drought on agriculture has been devastating, with crops failing and livestock dying due to lack of pasture and water. The food security situation in the country is dire, with many households facing hunger and malnutrition.

As Zimbabwe faces one of its worst droughts in recent years, the declaration of a national disaster signals a heightened state of emergency and a commitment to addressing the challenges posed by the El Niño-induced drought. Nhau/Indaba

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