The Finnish Red Cross distributes financial aid to tens of thousands of Zimbabweans with support from the EU

Cash transfer operation taking place in Zimbabwe in 2016.
Image: IFRC

The European Union has granted five million euros in financial aid to the Finnish Red Cross for aid work carried out in Zimbabwe. Thanks to this financial aid, a total of 76,500 people suffering from food insecurity will be provided with cash donations for buying food.

Economic difficulties combined with extreme weather conditions and drought, which have worsened due to climate change, have weakened the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe. At present, 4.8 million Zimbabweans suffer from food insecurity, and 2.3 million of them are in urgent need of food aid.

The need for aid is highest in rural areas. In summer 2019, one in four people living in rural areas were in urgent need of food aid, and it is feared that this figure will increase to 38 per cent, i.e. 3.6 million people, by the end of the year.

With the financial aid granted by the EU, the Red Cross will provide aid in the areas of Kariba, Gokwe North and Binga for nine months. The aim is to support families in making it through the period between harvest seasons, from October until March next year, which is critical for food security.

In its aid work, the Red Cross focuses on improving the food security of the most vulnerable groups, such as young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, elderly people and people with disabilities.

– Every month, the Red Cross provides families with a cash donation for buying food and other basic supplies. The cash donation is enough to buy roughly ten kilos of cereal plants, 2.5 kilos of legumes and a litre of cooking oil,’ says International Aid Planning Officer Sari Autio from the Finnish Red Cross.

– Cash donations are a quick and cost-effective way to help. They encourage families to make personal choices that improve food security and strengthen the local market,’ Autio adds.

The five million euros in funding granted by the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) is an exceptionally large amount for the Finnish Red Cross.

– Usually such large individual subsidies are only granted to large international organisations. The Finnish Red Cross is known as a strong and capable operator in Southern Africa. We are thankful to the European Commission for the trust they have shown us,’ says Toni Vasama, advisor of the Finnish Red Cross in financial and EU matters.

– Special thanks is also owed to all the people who donate to the Disaster Relief Fund during the Hunger Day collection, for example. The donations allow us to provide as many people with help as possible.’

The Danish Red Cross also participates in the humanitarian aid project run by the Finnish Red Cross, and all operations are carried out in close cooperation with the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society. The cash donations continue the development cooperation promoting health and disaster preparedness that the Finnish Red Cross has been carrying out in Zimbabwe on a bilateral basis for ten years.