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Zimbabwe needs 415 million dollars in food aid

HARARE, Dec 2 – The United Nations on Thursday appealed for 415 million dollars (315 million euros) to feed almost two million Zimbabweans facing near immediate malnutrition.

"An estimated 1.7 million Zimbabweans will face severe food insecurity in the peak hunger period of January to March 2011," Alain Noudehou, the UN\’s humanitarian coordinator for Zimbabwe, told journalists in Harare.

"To assist the most vulnerable with humanitarian and early recovery assistance, the 2011 consolidated appeal requests a total of 415 million dollars."

Noudehou said one in every three children in Zimbabwe is chronically malnourished and hunger contributes to nearly 12,000 child deaths each year.

Zimbabwe has experienced a decade of acute food shortages brought on by drought and President Robert Mugabe\’s land reforms, which crippled farm production.

However, the sum requested for 2011 is down on the 478 million dollars asked to feed 2.17 million people last year, and marks a significant improvement from the disastrous 2008 harvest, which left seven million people needing food aid.

The southern African country has been showing signs of recovery since the formation of a power-sharing deal between Mugabe and rival Morgan Tsvangirai to ease political tensions and mend an economy ravaged by years of hyperinflation.

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