Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Complex Emergency Situation Report #1 (FY 2009)

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BUREAU FOR DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT, AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE (DCHA)
OFFICE OF U.S. FOREIGN DISASTER ASSISTANCE (OFDA)

Note: The last situation report was dated September 19, 2008.

BACKGROUND

Conditions for most Zimbabweans continue to deteriorate due to the country's collapsing economy, declining access to basic social services and staple food items, the effects of HIV/AIDS, and recent political violence. Detrimental Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) policies, corruption, and declining agricultural production have exacerbated the humanitarian situation. Following eight consecutive years of economic decline, which have been characterized by hyperinflation and high unemployment rates, Zimbabwe is increasingly unable to maintain the infrastructure necessary for agricultural production, water and sanitation services, power generation, and steady fuel supply. Commercial land redistribution policies have resulted in a dramatic decline in domestic food production.

Following the March 29 presidential and legislative elections in Zimbabwe, heightened political tension led to general insecurity and significant violence by forces loyal to the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) against perceived members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). According to field and media reports, GOZ-sponsored attacks against MDC members and supporters substantially increased in number and severity in the weeks prior to the June 27 presidential run-off election. The instability created new displacement and humanitarian needs, further eroding livelihoods, resulting in loss of housing, and increasing Zimbabweans' vulnerability and poverty. On June 4, the GOZ announced a suspension of relief activities in Zimbabwe, severely limiting response to the significant humanitarian needs. The suspension was lifted on August 29 and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are attempting to resume activities. Food security for Zimbabweans remains particularly precarious as a result of poor governance, rising global food prices, hyperinflation, and low crop production-the latter due to inaccessibility of sufficient agricultural inputs, adverse climate conditions, and recent violence targeting farm workers. On September 15, ZANU-PF and MDC signed a power-sharing agreement, but disagreements over control of key ministries has resulted in ongoing negotiations and hindered the formation of a unity government.

On October 6, 2008, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Katherine S. Dhanani reissued a disaster declaration in Zimbabwe due to the complex emergency. In FY 2008 and to date in FY 2009, USAID/DCHA has provided nearly $217.6 million for agriculture and food security, protection, humanitarian coordination and information management, and water, sanitation, and hygiene programs, as well as emergency relief supplies and emergency food assistance.

NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
SOURCE
Estimated Displacement from Post-Election violence
17,355(1)
IOM(2) - July 2008
Population in Need of Food Assistance
5.1 million
FAO(3) and WFP(4) - June 2008

FY 2009 AND 2008 HUMANITARIAN FUNDING

USAID/OFDA Assistance to Zimbabwe - $7,393,573

USAID/FFP(5) Assistance to Zimbabwe - $207,676,900

State/PRM(6) Assistance to Zimbabwe - $2,520,000

Total USAID and State Humanitarian Assistance to Zimbabwe - $217,590,473

CURRENT SITUATION

Following the GOZ's lifting of the suspension of relief activities on August 29, humanitarian agencies in Zimbabwe are working to re-establish field operations. However, reports from relief agencies indicate that in Masvingo and Manicaland provinces, the geographic areas, beneficiary populations, and sectors in which NGOs are permitted to work could be at the discretion of local authorities. In addition, according to USAID staff, the GOZ's decision in early October to suspend the country's inter-bank transfer system is hindering humanitarian operations for NGO partners. USAID continues to stress the need for complete and unhindered access in order to provide critical humanitarian assistance to beneficiaries in Zimbabwe.

Despite the September 15 signing of a power sharing agreement, as of October 28, ZANU-PF and MDC had yet to reach consensus on establishing a unity government, due to ongoing negotiations regarding control of key ministries.

Map: USG Humanitarian Assistance to Zimbabwe (as of 28 Oct 2008)