Humanitarian agencies seek a total of $718 million for Zimbabwe as needs rise

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 01 Jun 2009
(New York, 1 June 2009): Humanitarian agencies in Zimbabwe today issued a revised appeal requesting $718 million, an increase of $168 million from the original appeal launched in November 2008, to meet the requirements of six million people whose humanitarian needs have continued to increase.

Significant changes in the country's political and socio-economic landscape have taken place this year, including the formation of the Inclusive Government. However, the sharp decline in the provision of basic social services is considered one of the root causes of the unprecedented spread of cholera which has infected nearly 100,000 people and claimed the lives of 4,276 to date. Food insecurity further aggravated an already difficult socioeconomic environment of hyper-inflation and a collapse of basic social services, including health, education and infrastructure.

Agencies had in November 2008 requested some $550 million to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, of which only $246 million has been received. Requirements have, however, outstripped the funds sought previously, hence the need for the revised Consolidated Appeal.

"We hope that donors will continue to be generous to the people of Zimbabwe who need help to save and rebuild their lives after years of adversity," said Catherine Bragg, Assistant Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator. "Adequate support now for a crucial sector such as agriculture will ensure that those who are currently dependent on food aid will be able to feed themselves next year," she added.

Six million people in Zimbabwe have limited or no access to safe water and sanitation in rural and urban areas. About 600,000 families require key agricultural inputs for the 2009/10 planting season to allow for a better harvest and a reduction of the estimated 5.1 million people who may otherwise require food aid during the next lean season. Some 1.3 million Zimbabweans are infected with HIV/AIDS, including 133,000 children under the age of 14. There are 1.5 million orphaned and vulnerable children, including over 100,000 child-headed households, and thousands who remain internally displaced. Aid agencies are concerned that unless conditions change, outbreaks of water-borne diseases at the onset of the next rainy season could lead to new cholera cases, and a serious humanitarian crisis.

Funds received so far have helped save lives by containing the cholera outbreak, providing food and agricultural assistance to vulnerable populations, and supporting vital social services including health, water and education at a critical time, despite enormous operational difficulties.

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