World Bulletin / News Desk
The number of people needing food aid in Zimbabwe will rise by 60 percent this year to 1.6 million, the World Food Programme said on Friday, citing an annual assessment carried out by the United Nations and the Zimbabwean government.
A poor farming season this year is blamed on erratic rainfall and limited access to seeds and fertilisers, which prompted Finance Minister Tendai Biti to cut the 2012 growth forecast to 5.6 percent from 9.4 percent.
Zimbabwe harvested 1.077 million tonnes of cereals in the 2011/12 season, down by one-third from the previous season and the lowest since 2009 when a unity government formed by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai helped revive a sinking economy.
Nearly one in five rural people in the southern African state will need food aid during the peak of next year's "hunger season", which runs from January to March when new crops are not ready for harvest, the WFP said in a statement.
"Our field staff are already reporting signs of distress in rural areas, including empty granaries and farmers selling off their livestock to make ends meet," said Felix Bamezon, the WFP country director.
In December the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 1.45 million would needfood aid.
Biti said last week that agriculture production for the 2011/2012 season had fallen 5.8 percent, leaving a grain deficit of 445,000 tonnes, which would be partly met through imports by the private sector.
The WFP said it would import cereals from neighbouring countries to distribute in rural Zimbabwe but would also hand out cash in some areas to allow people to buy their own cereals.
Peshmerga and army officers said they advanced into Jalawla, 115 km (70 miles) from Baghdad, and the nearby town of Saadiya, which they have been trying to recapture from ISIL
"We understand the fatality of an 'Iron Curtain' for us," Putin was quoted as saying the TASS news agency in an interview published
For three nights running, small groups of demonstrators have gathered outside the Ferguson police station to chant slogans and wave placards
Correspondents association denounces ban on Hong Kong journalists who 'heckled' president
This is the third time the Israeli police stop Hamdallah's convoy since he assumed office in June
Tunisians head to cast their ballots to elect a new president in a vote billed as the first free presidential election in the country that sparked the Arab Spring uprisings three years ago.
Diplomats said a framework accord was still possible, but that weeks or months would then be needed to agree on the all-important details of how it would be implemented.
Thailand's lese-majeste law is the world's harshest and makes it a crime to defame, insult or threaten the king, queen or heir to the throne or regent.
Palestinian villages in the West Bank, especially those near Israeli settlements, have recently been subject to repeated assaults by Jewish settlers
Authorities warn historic snow levels are ready to melt in upstate New York as temperatures rise
Adverse weather conditions are hampering efforts to rescue around 300 migrants stranded on a vessel that broke down near Northern Cyprus' coast
The U.S. planned to admit close to 7,000 refugees from Turkey in the coming year, including Iraqis, Iranians, and a growing number of Syrians, the statement said
Sarkozy pressed on with increasingly Eurosceptic proposals rare among the country's mainstream politicians.
A senior ally of Merkel has warned the foreign minister and his fellow Social Democrats against pursuing a more friendly approach
Remi Fraisse, 21, was killed last month by a so-called "offensive grenade" during a standoff between police and opponents of a dam project in wetlands near Toulouse
Netanyahu's office said following discussions last week, the Israeli Prime Minister was expected to propose the bill against those who commit "terrorist" attacks with national ramifications