HARARE, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- China on Monday handed over 12,500 metric tons of rice to assist Zimbabweans who are in need of food aid due to flood-induced hunger.
Floods caused by Cyclone Dineo in February left 246 people dead, 128 injured and nearly 2,000 homeless in Zimbabwe. Bridges and roads were damaged.
At the handover ceremony in the capital Harare, Zimbabwean Minister of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare Prisca Mupfumira said the rice will assist the needy, especially flood victims who have been relocated and remain in need of food aid until the next harvest season.
She said despite Zimbabwe's bumper maize harvest in the previous farming season, there were pockets of people who still required food aid.
Chinese Ambassador Huang Ping attended the handover of the rice, worth 14.7 million U.S. dollars.
The Zimbabwe minister said the number of households in need of food aid stands at 101,260, requiring 5,063 metric tons per month between July-September 2017.
The figure will increase as the nation progresses toward the peak hunger season to 301,872 households requiring 15,093.60 tons per month between January and March 2018, she said.
In total, 1.1 million people mill require food aid in Zimbabwe in January-March 2018, according to a rural livelihoods assessment report released by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee in July.
This will constitute 11 percent of the country's rural population that will be food insecure, down from 42 percent during the same period this year after the country experienced a devastating drought last year.
"In view of this, China has again made another donation of 12,500 metric tons for distribution to the vulnerable of the society. The donation from our friends will go a long way in mitigating the effects of flood-caused hunger," the minister said.
She said the humanitarian support from China showed that it was a true friend of Zimbabwe.
China has in recent years emerged as one of the major partners helping Zimbabwe cope with hunger by donating emergency food aid and agricultural inputs to boost the agriculture sector.
In March, China was one of the first countries to respond to Zimbabwe's distress call for assistance following the floods by donating 1 million U.S. dollars to the government.
Two weeks ago, China announced an additional 5 million dollar donation to assist the vulnerable in Zimbabwe including refugees in 2018.
Huang, the Chinese ambassador, said the donation testified strong bilateral ties between Zimbabwe and China. He said China was doing a lot to transfer technology to Zimbabwe to boost agriculture, the backbone of its economy.
He said China was keen to import citrus products from Zimbabwe and that work was at an advanced stage for Zimbabwe to start exporting horticulture products into the vast Chinese market.