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U.N. appeals for food aid to Zimbabwe

The United Nations appealed for $415 million in food aid on Thursday to aid the 1.7 million Zimbabweans who suffer serious chronic malnutrition, down from last year's appeal for $478 million for 2.17 million hungry people.

According to the Associated Free Press, UN humanitarian coordinator for Zimbabwe Alain Noudehou said that hunger will peak between January and March of 2011. One in three Zimbabwean children is also chronically malnourished, he said, which amounts to 12,000 yearly child deaths, reports the news source.

The AFP reports that the request is a "dramatic improvement" from when 7 million people required food aid just two years ago in 2008. The country has been slowly recovering from a decade of food insecurity in which droughts and land reforms stifled crop growth, according to the news source.

Children in Zimbabwe face an 8.5 percent risk of dying before they reach the age of five, according to the UN's global food security statistics. Hunger and malnourishment result in weak immune responses in humans and especially children, who often face an increased risk of death with severe malnutrition.
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