Zimbabwe has been one of the hardest-hit countries in Africa in terms of the drought currently rocking Southern Africa and Zimbabwean children are bearing the brunt.
President Mugabe had been forced to declare a state of disaster earlier in the year to attract food aid to the country. Despite the declaration, government officials estimate that more than four million people – around a third of the population – could be hungry by the end of the year.
Zimbabwean children are not left out of that plenteous number as thousands of them risk starvation by the end of the year.
Two hundred children (about three times the normal rate) have already lost their lives in one area (Binga) in the last 18 months because of food shortages caused by a severe drought, according to the ‘Save the Children charity’.
One of the workers at the charity, Tanya Steele, said some mothers were going without food for five days, and health workers were giving their children foraged berries “before inspecting babies and toddlers for signs of malnutrition”.
In a statement she also revealed;
“This is an emergency. Some children are already dying of complications from malnutrition. Others are very ill. There are mothers who are so stressed about not being able to feed their families that they’re suffering from hypertension.”
Tanya Steele who is based in the UK made these comments after visiting the Binga district, a four-hour drive from the “well-stocked” tourist hotels and restaurants in Victoria Falls.
Save the Children said that the death rate among infants admitted to hospital in emergency cases had also risen significantly and Ministry of health statistics showed that 946 children under the age of five years in Binga were suffering from “severe acute malnutrition”, and the number is expected to rise sharply in the coming months.