Since January 2019, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated in Zimbabwe, with 5.3 million people, including 2.5 million children , in need of assistance as a result of natural hazards, increased food insecurity, and an outbreak of diarrheal disease. Cyclone Idai made landfall on 14-15 March, affecting Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. It is the worst natural disaster to hit southern Africa in nearly two decades, with more than 270,000 people affected in Zimbabwe, half of whom are children. The floods caused massive destruction in nine districts, damaging 140 schools, 250 boreholes, 18 urban and periurban water supply systems and 13 health care facilities. With over 300 confirmed cases of cholera in the country , it is critical to urgently scale-up the response to prevent an expansion of the disease. The crisis, as well as the deteriorating economic situation, is also further exacerbating existing vulnerabilities, especially for pregnant and breastfeeding women, children and adolescents living with HIV. With rainfalls below the normal long-term average in parts of the country, food insecurity and malnutrition are on the rise. More than 30,000 children under-five are projected to be severely malnourished in 2019.
UNICEF and partners are supporting the Ministry of Health and Child Care to provide comprehensive WASH, nutrition, and health and HIV services with a strong communication for development (C4D) strategy. In response to the Cyclone, UNICEF is supporting the government-led coordination to provide multi-sectoral life-saving services to the affected communities, particularly interventions to prevent cholera and malnutrition and is working on restoring urban and peri-urban WASH infrastructure. The existing social protection programme will also be expanded to areas most affected by the cyclone. UNICEF is increasing field presence in the affected areas and is ensuring service continuity to crisis-affected children, adolescents, pregnant and breastfeeding women receiving antiretroviral therapy through outreach services. The provision of psychosocial support is being scaled up through child-friendly spaces, home visits, and support for foster care placement.
UNICEF is also supporting the Ministry Education to enhance quality of learning, coordination, data management, and WASH-in-schools interventions. C4D is mainstreamed in all programmes. UNICEF continues to support sectoral coordination and leadership in the WASH, nutrition, education and child protection sectors. UNICEF will work towards establishing prevention from sexual exploitation and abuse by establishing a coordination structure to ensure crisis-affected populations have access to reporting mechanisms and assistance.
Results from 2019
As of 23 March 2019, UNICEF has received US$4.3 million in support of its humanitarian interventions. Preparedness efforts, through prepositioned lifesaving supplies prior to the cyclone, enabled UNICEF to immediately respond. UNICEF has facilitated community and facilitybased multi-sectoral risk assessments focusing on the risk of drought, flooding and epidemic prone diseases (cholera and typhoid). Some 350 boxes of RUTF are being dispatched to health facilities covering cyclone-affected communities. To date, 5,000 households have received WASH hygiene kits, and medical supplies have been distributed for the management of child cases for the next three months in cyclone-affected areas. A total of 13 ward nutrition coordinators, and 12 social workers, including clinical trauma counselors, have been deployed in the emergency centers where displaced households are sheltered. Regarding ongoing response to cholera and drought, to date,
UNICEF has supported the Ministry of Health to conduct diarrhea case management trainings for frontline health workers responding to an outbreak of cholera and provided nutrition commodities in cholera treatment centers. UNICEF continues to strengthen the capacities of community-based child protection cadres and mainstreaming child protection into other sectors, in line with the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action.