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OXFORD, UK ? International aid agency Oxfam today announced it has suspended all field work in Zimbabwe on the orders of the government.
A letter issued on June 4th by the Zimbabwean Minister of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare, addressed to ?all private voluntary organizations / non governmental organizations? has instructed all NGOs ?to suspend all field operation until further notice.?
In addition to food shortages now, it is estimated there will be a further 1.4 million ton shortfall in maize this year. Food insecurity is expected to be a serious problem by August.
Charles Abani, Oxfam?s director in Southern Africa, said: ?We are deeply concerned at this development. A lot of people are completely reliant on food aid to keep them alive. They don?t have anything else to eat. Access has been restricted in recent months and we are very worried about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the communities where we work.?
?We are also concerned that all NGOs?including local Zimbabwean organizations?have been suspended which brings a halt to a wide range of services to needy people.?
Oxfam hopes this directive to suspend operations is temporary and calls on authorities to allow us to continue our ongoing work and assessments.
Oxfam is a non-partisan organization that provides humanitarian assistance to people based on need and need alone. Our only interest is in ensuring that those people most vulnerable get the assistance they are entitled to.