Zimbabwe: Floods, Office of the Resident Coordinator Situation Report No. 01 - As of 6 April 2017


This report is produced by Office of the Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the period from January - April 2017. The next report will be issued on or around June 2017.


  • The Government of Zimbabwe has declared the flooding situation affecting 36 districts in the country a national disaster, and has appealed for international assistance.

  • The Government estimates that some 251 people have been killed and 128 others injured by various impacts of the floods. An estimated 100,000 people lack access to safe drinking water in the affected areas.

  • Nearly 2,000 people are internally displaced in Tsholotsho district, Matabeleland North province, 859 of whom are sheltering in a nearby temporary camp at Sipepa Rural Clinic.

  • The floods have resulted in extensive damage to infrastructure including roads, schools and health institutions. More than 140 dams have been destroyed.

  • Humanitarian assessments are ongoing in affected districts; the majority of which were recovering from the two-year El Niño-induced drought.

  • Humanitarian partners are redirecting diminishing drought stocks, as well as mobilising additional resources to meet the critical needs emerging from the flood response.

Situation Overview

Above-normal rainfall, worsened by the effects of tropical cyclone Dineo in March 2017, have resulted in severe floods affecting 36 districts in Zimbabwe. Worst affected are Matabeleland (North, West, South and Central), Midlands, Masvingo, Mashonaland West, Manicaland and Metropolitan Provinces.
These provinces are on a recovery path from the severe food insecurity caused by the two-year El Nino induced drought but successive crises have eroded the capacity of people to cope.

The Government has declared the flood disaster a national emergency and has appealed for international assistance amounting to USD189 million, to meet both the immediate and long-term needs of affected communities.

Preliminary assessments in some affected areas indicate that 251 people dies and 128 people injured due to various impacts of the floods. Nearly 2,600 houses have been destroyed, leaving thousands of people homeless.

In Tsholotsho district, an estimated 2,000 people have been displaced – 855 of whom to a nearby camp at Sipepa Rural Hospital. They are in need of shelter materials, foodstuffs, blankets and clothing.

The floods have affected children’s access to quality and safe learning spaces. A total of 388 schools (287 primary; 101 secondary schools) where 166,216 children were enrolled, have been destroyed. Out of the 855 people living in the displaced people’s camp at Sipepa clinic, 354 are children of school-going age. Pupils from Mathuphula and Mahlaba primary schools have been integrated at Sipepa Primary School. The school, with an enrolment of 342 pupils, has six classrooms and is under pressure for more furniture, teaching and learning materials, and staff accommodation.

Health needs in the affected areas are becoming increasingly critical. Five health institutions in Tsholotsho districts have been destroyed and require shelter materials and personnel for the increased patient load. The floods have compromised the hygiene practices and water quality, especially in the congested IDP camp. There is an increased risk of water and vector-borne diseases, including cholera, malaria and measles, endemic in the affected areas.

The Government estimates that over 100,000 people are without safe drinking water following extensive damage to water supply infrastructure. The typhoid situation mostly affecting Harare and other districts is a direct threat to the districts affected by the flooding situation. Recent reports by the Ministry of Health indicate that a total of 1,934 suspected typhoid cases, 59 confirmed and 5 deaths have been reported since January 2017.About 8 floods affected districts are also in malaria outbreaks with a cumulative figure of 134, 223 cases and 194 deaths reported during the same period. The displaced children under 5 years of age face imminent outbreaks of vaccine preventable conditions, particularly measles. There is an urgent need to build capacity in the management of these conditions and ensure adequate supplies of medicines and other supplementary commodities to the affected areas.

More than 140 community and privately owned dams have breached, resulting in damage to downstream infrastructure, especially in Matabeleland (South and North) and Midlands Provinces. Flood monitoring equipment has been destroyed, hindering effective flood early warning actions. Nearly all districts have reported damage to roads and collapsed bridges, rendering some areas inaccessible. More than 90 per cent of small-scale miners in heavily affected areas have lost their livelihoods, as mines are inundated in water.

About 5,000 women and children across all flood-affected districts are in need of immediate lifesaving protection services. Exposure to gender-based violence remains high as a consequence of damaged infrastructure, which hinders access to services. Sixteen unaccompanied and separated children have been provided with alternative care arrangements.

The floods have coincided with the ongoing response to the El Niño-induced drought, which has affected more than 5.2 million people countrywide. Humanitarian assessments and multi-sectoral life-saving response activities are ongoing in the worst affected districts. The Government is leading the response with support from the Humanitarian Country Team.

Humanitarian partners are partially redirecting the current drought response, as well as mobilising additional resources – such as the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) – to meet the emerging needs of the flood response.