UNICEF Zimbabwe Humanitarian Situation Report - October - November 2020

Situation Report
Originally published



A total of 19,497(10,664 Girls; 8,833 Boys) children under the age of five years had been admitted for treatment of acute malnutrition, by the end of November 2020.
By 30 November, over 3 million people had been reached with critical health services in UNICEF supported health care facilities.
Between October and November 2020, 2.8 million people were reached with key hygiene messages during the reporting period.
A total of 196,953 (102,416 females, 94,537 males) people were reached with safe water between October and November.
By 20 November, a cumulative total of 1,077 radio lessons had been developed and 988 primary and secondary school lessons had been broadcast, reaching a total of 1.2 million learners.
A total of 12, 619 vulnerable children (7,015 and 5,604 boys) including 1,939 children with disabilities were reached with community-based psychosocial support (PSS) interventions between October and November, bringing the cumulative reach to 91,969 children since January 2020.

Funding Overview and Partnerships

UNICEF is appealing for US$ 84 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 November funding totalling about US$ 17.7 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 humanitarian context in Zimbabwe continues to be heavily impacted by multiple hazards that include the effects of drought, the residual impact of Cyclone Idai, the economic deterioration and the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The onset of the rainy season projected to receive normal to above normal rainfall has presented additional hazards of flooding, thunderstorms and hailstorms with potential consequences of diarrheal disease outbreaks, particularly in cholera hotspots. Between October and November 2020, Bulawayo province reported 1,905 common diarrheal cases with no deaths bringing the cumulative number of cases to 6,338 with 6 deaths since January 2020. 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 September 2020rural ZIMVAC results released shows that although there is some improvement inthefood security situation (56% of the rural populationstill food insecure, compared to59% in 2019), several key indicators are worsening. The global acute malnutrition (GAM) has 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.
As of 26 November, Zimbabwe had reported 9,623 cases of COVID-19, 274 deaths and 8,397 recoveriesThe phased reopening of schools, which began on 14 September 2020 and 28 September 2020 with examination classes successfully continued to the second phase on 26 October 2020 and the third phase on 9 November 2020. While the last phase of schools re-opening was completed in November, a plethora of challenges, particularly the high risk of COVID-19 infections has persisted. As of 30 November 2020, the number of learners infected with COVID-19 stood at 448 (196 males and 252 females). None of the affected learners has had a serious illness and there have been no fatalities amongst learners. A total of 22 teachers (12 males and 10 females) tested positive to the virus, and one death was recorded. Hyperinflation has persisted though it has reduced 761% in August 2020 to 471% in October 2020.

Despite the reduction, the economic environment remains challenged and the general costs of basic services, particularly health, education and food have remained beyond the reach of the majority. While the September 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 and 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 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.