Zimbabwe, a country where 72 percent 1 of the population live in chronic poverty, is currently in the grip of an intense drought that has expanded and strengthened since the earliest stages of the 2015-2016 agricultural season, driven by one of the strongest El Niño events of the last 35 years. The combination of a poor 2014-2015 harvest, an extremely dry early season (October to December) and forecasts for continuing hot and drier-than-average conditions through mid-2016, suggest a scenario of extensive crop failure. An already vulnerable population is exposed to face high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition.
The recent Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee’s (ZimVAC) rapid assessment concluded that about 2.8 million people are food insecure, with the number expected to grow at least until April harvests. In addition to food insecurity, drought conditions are driving WASH, health, education and other sectoral needs across the country impacting on land and water ecosystems that support crop production.
1.- Food insecurity
In total, 2.8 million people, 30 percent of the rural population, require urgent humanitarian assistance. According to the ZimVAC Rapid Assessment Analysis report of February 2016, the number of people who face acute food insecurity has significantly increased from 1.5 million by 1.3 million (since July 2015). Additional 1.3 million people are at risk of slipping into acute food insecurity.
2.- High levels of acute malnutrition 99,243 children under the age of 5, are estimated to be acutely malnourished nationwide. The SAM rate of 2.1 percent, up from 1.5 percent the previous year, is likely to increase in further throughout 2016. Global acute malnutrition (GAM) rates are at 5.7 percent, the highest ever in the last 15 years. Malnourishment has also increased in some of the areas hardest hit by HIV further compounding the problem.
3.- Poor access to basic services
Poor basic services continue to undermine the resilience of vulnerable people. About 1.9 million require improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
The severe drought, insufficient and unsafe water and poor sanitation are increasing the risk of outbreaks of communicable diseases. With 48 percent of the population younger than 18 years, the impact of the drought on children is particularly high. Around 1.4 million children potentially affected in the 10 worst drought affected districts, where over 497,000 children are enrolled in 1,150 schools, authorities are observing declining attendance and concentration levels, which are used as precursors for monitoring the drought impact
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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