• 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
• ZIMVAC 2020 showed that the global acute malnutrition (GAM) had increased to 4.5% from the 3.6% in 2019 with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) reported at 2% .
• In this reporting period, UNICEF and partners screened about 300,000 children for acute malnutrition.
• In total, 30,714 cases of common diarrhea and 15 deaths were reported between 3 August and 30 September 2020 across the country indicating sharp increase from the 1,950 cases reported between June and July
• A total of 164,973 (85,785 girls 79,188 boys) children under the age of five were provided with minor curative services for diarrhoea and malaria at the household level by VHWs
• Between August and September 2020, at least 7.3 million people were reached with various communication for development, community engagement and accountability activities
UNICEF’s Response and Funding Status
Funding Overview and Partnerships
UNICEF is appealing for US$ 83.9 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 30 September, funding totalling about US$ 17.8 million (17 per cent of the total 2020 funding requirement – excluding COVID-19 funding) 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
The Zimbabwean humanitarian context remains precarious amid the deepening economic crisis and the worsening impact of drought, diarrhoeal diseases 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 urban Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) analysis of August 2019. The 2020 rural ZIMVAC results released in September 2020, shows that through there is some improvement in the food security situation (56% of the rural population is food insecure down from 59% in 2019), several key indicators are worsening.The global acute malnutrition (GAM) increased from the 3.6% in 2019 to 4.5%1 in 2020 with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) at 2% up from 1.4%2 in 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. The minimum acceptable diet for children under two years has dropped further, from 7% in 2019 to 2% in 2020. In August 2020, about 1,200 children were admitted to nutrition programs for treatment of severe acute malnutrition. In response to the low admissions, the nutrition cluster has intensified their support to the integrated outreach services in an effort to bring services nearer to where the children who need them live.
As of 30 September, Zimbabwe had reported 7,838 cases of COVID-19, 228 deaths and 6,303 recoveries. COVID-19 has contributed to reduced sources of income (51.5%), reduced food sources (50.1%), and failure to access basic commodities (21.2%) among the population [Rural ZIMVAC, 2020]. Hyperinflation at 874% in July 2020 has triggered food price increases, weakened the currency and reduced the buying power among the population. This has resulted in increased exposure and vulnerability to shocks, further weakening resilience among the most vulnerable segments of the population, including the urban population. While all schools were closed during the COVID-19 lockdown, only 6.8% of children were receiving education through virtual platforms. Although the 2020 rural ZIMVAC notes an improvement in access to improved water and sanitation from 2019, 23 per cent of the rural population still lacks access to improved water, while 29% of the households still practice open defecation. In urban areas, there are severe water shortages mainly caused by lack of water treatment chemicals as local authorities do not have adequate foreign currency to import the commodity. The risks of water borne diseases, particularly diarrhoeal diseases such as cholera and typhoid therefore remain high. 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.
Between August and September, a total of 2,621 child survivors, including 142 (13 per cent boys and 87 per cent girls) living with disability across the country were provided with post-rape health care and psycho-social support through UNICEF support to the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) and civil society organizations. The economic crisis has also compounded the human resources crisis in the country’s public sector resulting in a widespread strike of health care workers demanding increased salaries, among other COVID-19-related demands such as hazard pay, and personal protective equipment.