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Humanitarian Situation Better, Still Tenuous, In Zimbabwe As E.U. Scales Down Assistance, IRIN Reports

Though the number of people in Zimbabwe in need of food aid has dropped from seven million in 2002-2003 to one million currently, the number could still rise by 600,000 in 2013, IRIN reports in an analysis of the humanitarian and political situation in the country. “Still, two of the country’s biggest donors, the European Union and the U.S., and their implementing partner, the U.N., say Zimbabwe is on its way to recovery and development,” the news service writes, noting “[t]he E.U. has announced that it is scaling down its humanitarian assistance.” IRIN states, “The E.U. has moved from funding only emergency food aid to funding nutrition, health, water and sanitation, and protection programs. [U.N. Financial Tracking Service (FTS)] data show that the health and education sectors are better funded than last year, but agriculture programs are worse off.”

“The political situation [in Zimbabwe] — combined with the scale-down in humanitarian aid — has caused concerns,” according to IRIN. In addition, “the food crisis in Zimbabwe is deepening,” the news service notes, adding, “Last week, the country’s National Early Warning office said parts of the country could be affected by yet another dry spell during the coming planting season, and urged farmers to sow varieties of maize that take longer to mature.” David Sharrock, the European Commission’s spokesperson on International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, “said the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, ‘though still fragile, has stabilized considerably since the political crisis and socio-economic breakdown of 2008-2009 — which resulted in widespread violence, a major food crisis and a large-scale uncontrolled cholera outbreak with many deaths,'” according to the news service (9/12).

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