UNICEF Zimbabwe Humanitarian Situation Report: January 1 – December 31, 2021



  • Of the 13,800 children targeted for treatment of severe wasting, in the 32 districts, 11,079 children (6,226 girls and 4,853 boys), i.e., 80%, were admitted and treated.

  • Between January and December 2021, a total of 2,530,879 women and children were reached with primary health care services against an annual target of 2.7 million.

  • 809,208 people (428,886 females and 373,024 males including 7,298 people with disabilities) were reached with safe water, exceeding the annual target of 610,057.

  • UNICEF reached a total of 23,197 (61% female and 125% of the target) survivors of GBV with post GBV services against the annual target of 18,500.

  • 9,851 households (comprising over 41,650 people including 18,870 children) against an operational target of 8,250 households benefitted from emergency cash transfers in Highfields, Gutu and Mufakose districts.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

In 2021, Zimbabwe continued to face multiple hazards dominated by two waves of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Containment measures introduced in 2021, which included lockdowns, school shutdowns, and curfews severely affected business operations and had deleterious impacts on industry, and the informal sector and eroded the fragile livelihoods of the vulnerable population of Zimbabwe. Economic challenges manifested in increased prices of goods and services fueled by year-on-year inflation of 60.7% in December 2021. The urban population was more impacted by the economic challenges with 2.4 million people in urban areas becoming food insecure (ZIMVAC, 2021). Despite a good harvest in the 2020 – 2021 agricultural season, some rural populations were also facing food insecurity, particularly during the lean season starting in October 2021. In the short term, therefore, given the economic impact of COVID-19, the economic outlook is hinged on public health and the evolution of the COVID-19 vaccination process. As of 31 December 2021, Zimbabwe had recorded 213,258 COVID-19 cases1 up from 134,625 recorded a month earlier.

The epidemiological trend showed a sharp increase in infections, which was triggered by the fourth Omicron variant. A total of 5,004 deaths had been recorded by 31 December. Harare continued to have the highest incidence per capita at 2,117, followed by Matabeleland North with 2,202 cases and Matabeleland South province at 2,031 cases per 100,000. The Government of Zimbabwe re-opened schools on 30 August beginning with examination classes with the rest of the classes reopening on 8 September 2021. In October, schools experienced a surge in COVID-19 infections with 2,882 school children (1,127 males; 755 females) & 204 teachers (78 males and 126 females) having tested positive cumulatively. More than 50% of the new cases were driven by 2.56% of the schools in the country. There was 1 death, 1,043 recoveries and 2,042 active cases.

The national COVID-19 vaccination campaign has continued to progress steadily between January and December 2021 with UNICEF at the forefront of support to the government. By 31 December, a total of 4,124,102 people had received first doses of the vaccine while 3,135,175 people had received the second dose, and 5,195 had received the third ‘booster’ dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Towards the end of 2021, with the general lax by the public to abide by the COVID-19 mitigation protocols, there is the need to continue to reinforce the general COVID-19 safety measures and intensify the national vaccination campaign.