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Malnutrition could jeopardize development in Zimbabwe, U.N. says

Feb. 21, 2014 at 2:52 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The head of the United Nations World Food Program warns malnutrition could jeopardize development in Zimbabwe, where 2 million people are food insecure.

The agency's executive director, Ertharin Cousin, arrived in Zimbabwe Wednesday, the United Nations said in a release.

"Food security and nutrition are vital for Zimbabwe's development, and high levels of malnutrition could hold the country back from reaching its full potential," Cousin said Friday. "Grain prices are much higher than they were this time last year and some communities have no food stocks left following last season's bad harvest."

The WFP originally planned to aid 1.8 Zimbabweans, but due to budget constraints is only able to meet the needs of 1.2 million people.

"We know donors have to make tough decisions with so many simultaneous humanitarian emergencies in the world but we also ask that the less visible crises, like that in Zimbabwe, not be forgotten," Cousin said.

Cousin urged the government of Zimbabwe and the international community to continue to aid the most vulnerable and help build sustainable solutions in communities.

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