UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator urges continued support for Zimbabwe's still fragile humanitarian situation

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 09 Dec 2009
(Harare/New York, 9 December 2009): United Nations Assistant-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg today concluded a three-day mission to Zimbabwe noting that the country's humanitarian situation has significantly improved, but cautioned that continued humanitarian assistance is still required to maintain the positive gains.

At the end of her February 2009 visit, Ms Bragg had agreed with the government and humanitarian partners on three deliverables - increased joint assessment, revision of the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) 2009 and stepping-up of response activities. She confirmed that the humanitarian partners had achieved all three, which contributed to the improvement of the humanitarian situation. This was aided by the relative political, socio-economic stability and the good rains.

"Any sudden shock can wipe out the recent gains. We must continue working together to avoid losing the momentum," Ms. Bragg said. "The international community has been generous to the people of Zimbabwe in 2009 by granting US$642 million for humanitarian needs. It is my hope that this will continue well into 2010," she added. During her visit, Ms Bragg co-launched the CAP 2010 with government counterparts. The projected needs in 2010 are estimated at $378 million.

Ms. Bragg met the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and five cabinet ministers who expressed their appreciation for the support the United Nations and other humanitarian partners had extended to the country throughout the crisis earlier in the year.

While acknowledging the government's main focus remains on recovery and development as crucial, Ms Bragg also stressed that humanitarian assistance must not be neglected, as it continues to assist the most vulnerable communities.

During her meetings with the Zimbabwe's leaders, Ms. Bragg noted the importance of government's responsibility in sustaining the achievements to date. She also urged the government to continue supporting humanitarian workers and to expedite the issuing of work permits to humanitarian nongovernmental organisations. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs would continue working with local government structures on the coordination of aid delivery at national and local level, she added.

Ms Bragg also went to Shamva district of Mashonaland Central Province where she visited several humanitarian projects supported by UN agencies, including the World Health Organization, UN Population Fund, UN Children's Fund, Food and Agriculture Organizations and their NGO partners. The projects include a district hospital which has pre-positioned medical stocks in case of a cholera outbreak, a training programme for grassroots health workers, and a communal farm used as a demonstration site for farmers sharing good agriculture practices.

For further information, please call: OCHA-New York: Stephanie Bunker, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 347 244 2106, bunker@un.org; Nicholas Reader, +1 212 963 4961, mobile +1 646 752 3117, reader@un.org, John Nyaga +1 917 367 9262, +1 917 318 8917, nyagaj@un.org

OCHA-Geneva: Elisabeth Byrs, +41 22 917 2653, mobile +41 79 473 4570, byrs@un.org

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