ENVIRONMENT

Zimbabwe needs $1.5 billion in food aid, says vice president

Zimbabwe's vice president says the drought-stricken country needs to raise $1.5 billion for food aid.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Wednesday that over 70 percent of crops in the southern part of the country were wiped out by drought conditions brought on by the El Nino weather phenomenon affecting southern Africa.

Mnangagwa told international diplomats and aid agencies that 3 million people in rural provinces need urgent food aid. Mnangagwa said 16,681 livestock have died. He made a similar plea to the business community a day earlier.

United Nations Development Program resident coordinator Bishow Parajuli said the agency raised $60 million for aid programs in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe, once known as the southern Africa's breadbasket, has increasingly relied on food aid due to persistent drought conditions and a struggling economy.