THE United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) this week completed a first distribution of cash to Zambians in urban areas impacted by the coronavirus, reaching some 180,000 vulnerable residents in Lusaka and Kafue.
The UN agency plans to assist more than 650,000 people over the next six months.
WFP is providing the poorest families in densely populated, low-income urban areas with K400 (US $22) a month, enough to meet half their daily food needs.
According to WFP, the intention is to offset earnings losses suffered as a result of the slowdown in economic activities.
“The spread of COVID-19 continues to prevent breadwinners earning a living and disrupt supply chains, pushing up food prices. This could be disastrous for urban residents who are already living in extreme poverty and can only eat if they earn a wage,” said WFP country representative, Jennifer Bitonde in a statement issued on Wednesday. “WFP is grateful to the donors that have funded this response to date. We need more support.”
Bitonde said a robust communications campaign was underway to encourage recipients of the cash to purchase and consume nutritious foods.
She said an additional $16.8 million was required to underwrite the intervention through the end of the year.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.