UN asks BRICS to help drought-stricken Zimbabwe
The United Nations on Tuesday appealed to the emerging BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to join the West in helping Zimbabwe fight hunger after it was hit by drought.
"The timely support from the BRICS, either bilaterally or through the UN, will go a long way in augmenting ongoing efforts by the government of Zimbabwe, UN, the traditional OECD donor countries, the Red Cross movement and the NGOs," said Bishow Parajuli, head of the UN team in the southern African country.
President Robert Mugabe's government recently launched an international appeal for $1.6bn dollars to cover food imports for 3 million people facing food insecurity.
Long shunned by the West over its expulsions of white farmers, Zimbabwe has warm relations with China and Russia, but BRICS countries have not directly contributed to previous emergency responses.
The drought caused by the climatic phenomenon known as El Nino has hit vast parts of southern and eastern Africa, where about 50 million people face food insecurity, according to UN figures.
Parajuli described the situation in Zimbabwe as "critical", with the UN only having raised about $78m so far mainly from the United States, European Union and its own funds.
About 20,000 cattle have already died from hunger, he told dpa.