An estimated 2.17 million Zimbabweans – perhaps a fourth of the country’s population – are in need of food aid, the Red Cross has said. In a statement, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies pleaded for international funds for urgent food aid to Zimbabwe. U.N. organizations also have appealed for more donor funds. “In some parts of the country, the food situation is as bad as many of our volunteers and staff have ever seen it,” said Emma Kundishora, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society. Erratic rain – too much in some areas and too little in others – has damaged crops of corn, the staple food across the southern African nation. The former regional breadbasket also has been hit by acute shortages of seed and fertilizer. At least 4 million Zimbabweans are estimated to have fled the nation’s economic meltdown in recent years to find work in neighboring countries and further afield, leaving the population at about 8 million, according to official estimates from the finance ministry. (AP)

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