UNICEF Zimbabwe Humanitarian Situation Report - Mid-year 2020


Multi-hazard Situation Mid-Year Report: (January-July 2020)


  • According to the Zimbabwe Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP, 2020) launched on 2 April, 2020, 7 million people (including 3.2 million children) are projected to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in 2020.

  • By year-end, 8.6 million Zimbabweans will be food insecure (WFP Press Statement, 31 July)

  • Between January and July 2020, 1,389,980 children were screened for acute malnutrition.

  • 11,760 children were admitted into the nutrition treatment for wasting from January to July 2020 - 356,666 malaria cases and 361 deaths were reported from 1 January to 19 July 2020 (up from 221,179 cases in the same period last year).

  • 370 primary level radio lessons have been developed and are being broadcasted to national and community radio stations on a weekly basis - 1,950 cases of diarrheal disease outbreak with 13 deaths were reported between 15 June and 31 July 2020.

  • As of 31 July, Zimbabwe has reported 3,092 cases of COVID-19 - 10,573,000 people were reached through communications activities

UNICEF’s Response and Funding Status

Funding Overview and Partnerships

UNICEF is appealing for US$ 70.9 million to meet the increased humanitarian needs in the country in 2020 as a result of the multiple hazards of drought, residual impacts of Cyclone Idai, diarrheal disease outbreaks, and economic crisis compounded by the current COVID-19 outbreak. As of 31 July 2020, funding totalling about US$ 30.7 million (30 per cent of the total 2020 funding requirement) has been received from various donors that include CERF, China, ECHO, Japan, USA BPRM, US Fund for UNICEF, USA (OFDA) and UNICEF Global Thematic. Other donors, including,
German, KfW, DFID, SIDA, Irish Government, EU and GAVI have approved reprogramming of the development funds to support COVID-19 response.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

During the first half of 2020, humanitarian needs in Zimbabwe continued to escalate triggered by the deepening economic crisis and the worsening impact of drought, floods, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, the HRP projected a total of 7 million people, including 3.2 million children, in Zimbabwe to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection. In addition, 2.2 million people in urban areas, were estimated to be “cereal food insecure,” according to the Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) analysis of August 2019. On 31 July 2020, WFP reported that by year’s end, the number of food insecure Zimbabweans will have surged to 8.6 million – a staggering 60 per cent of the population – owing to the deterioration of combined effects of drought, economic recession and the COVID-19 pandemic. At the beginning of the year, approximately 95,000 children under age 5 were suffering from acute malnutrition, with a national global acute malnutrition (GAM) prevalence at 3.6 per cent and a total of 8 districts recording GAM prevalence of over 5 per cent (ZimVAC rural 2019). The nutrition status of children in Zimbabwe is further compounded by sub-optimal infant and young child feeding practices including very poor dietary diversity at 15 per cent and with only 7 per cent having attained the minimum acceptable diet. A total of 11,760 children (33 per cent of the targeted 36,000 children) were admitted into programme for treatment of wasting from January to July 2020.

As of 31 July, Zimbabwe has reported 3,092 cases of COVID-19, 2,042 of which are local transmissions across all the 10 provinces of the country with Harare and Bulawayo being the hotspots of the outbreak. A total of 53 deaths and 924 recoveries had been reported between March and July. With COVID-19, essential services have also suffered. Data from January to April 2020 showed a decline in immunisation coverage, at 49 per cent in MR1 and 40 per cent in DTP3. The education cluster estimated that 1.2 million (35 per cent) of the more than 3.4 million children of school going age (3 to 12 years), would need emergency or specialized education services in 2020. This includes more than 853,000 children in acute need—such as children not enrolled in school, orphans and other vulnerable children—including children with disabilities, children living with HIV and those in need of school feeding. Without a well-resourced response, the COVID-19 epidemic is projected to exacerbate existing vulnerabilities among children, with lasting negative impact on children’s’ education and learning outcomes. Access to WASH remains a challenge with only 30 per cent of the water sources tracked by the rural water information management system functional and protected. The country’s continuing economic deterioration has exacerbated the impact of the above-mentioned multiple hazards. The overall year-on-year food inflation is still high though it eased marginally from 980 per cent in April 2020 to 953 per cent in May 2020. This implies that on average food prices have increased by 980 per cent compared to April 2019. The combined impact of drought and economic deterioration has thus worsened the dire situation of vulnerable children, placing them at a heightened risk of increased protection violations and negative coping strategies. The economic crisis has also compounded the human resources crisis in the country’s public sector resulting in a widespread strike of health care UNICEF’s Response and Funding Status workers demanding increased salaries, among other COVID-19-related demands such as hazard pay, and personal protective equipment.