The Red Cross on Wednesday issued an emergency appeal to donors for 26.6 million dollars for food aid to Zimbabwe, saying millions in the politically and economically unstable country faced hunger, dpa reported.
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Geneva the funds would help those already in need and avert an aggravation of the situation.
The number of people in need could rise to up to 5.1 million, almost half the population, by the end of the year, the IFRC noted.
The IFRC currently provides food aid to 260,000 people in Zimbabwe, including orphans, the chronically ill and other vulnerable people, IFRC relief programme coordinator John Roche said.
"Given the worsening supply situation, we want to expand these efforts in the coming six to nine months and also coordinate with other relief organizations," he said.
Persistent drought and poor harvests, coupled with Zimbabwe's record hyper-inflation, have contributed to the hardship of many in the southern African country. Aid agencies see the urgent import of food as one of the most essential measures to counter the situation.
Zimbabwe's controversial President Robert Mugabe, who is criticized internationally over the state of the country, has also come under fire for impeding the work of international aid agencies.