The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere says President Robert Mugabe has declared a state of disaster following the El Nino-induced drought which has severely affected some areas in both communal and resettlement areas across the country.
The declaration is with effect from the 2nd of February.
In a statement to ZBC News, Cde Kasukuwere said President Mugabe made the declaration given the magnitude of the significant impacts and the continued threat of the El Nino phenomenon-induced drought.
"The seasonal outlook indicated from the outset that the 2015-2016 rainfall season for Zimbabwe was likely to experience normal to below normal rainfall throughout the country. This weather condition has been brought about by the El Nino phenomenon.
"This phenomenon is highly associated with droughts and prolonged dry spells in most Sub-Saharan countries. Consequently, over 95% of the country has received less than 75% of what they would have received by this time of the year," said Minister Kasukuwere.
The Minister said the declaration seeks to ensure that urgent priority be given to mobilisation of resources to alleviate suffering on the part of the affected people from the impacts of drought.
The declaration by President Mugabe is in line with Subsection (1) of Section 27 of the Civil Protection Act Chapter 10:06.
"Subsection (1) of Section 27 of the Civil Protection Act (Chapter 10:06); provides that if at any time it appears to the President that any disaster is of such a nature and extent that extra-ordinary measures are necessary to assist and protect the persons affected or likely to be affected by the disaster in any area of the country, the President may, in such a manner as he considers fit, declare that, with effect from a date specified by him, a state of disaster exists within an area or areas specified by him in the declaration," said Cde Kasukuwere.
The declaration also comes at a time when the overall food insecure population has since risen from 1.5 million people to 2.44 million which is 26 percent of the country’s population.
The declaration is also meant to develop an early recovery plan and ensure reduction of the risk to drought in the future through a robust drought mitigation framework.
ZBC News has in recent weeks carried news items highlighting that most of the maize crop in provinces like Masvingo and Matabeleland South is a write off, while so far 1 251 cattle have succumbed to drought in Matabeleland South.