Joint Foreword by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works and the United Nations Resident Coordinator
As Zimbabwe entered 2020, climatic and economic shocks are driving rising humanitarian needs which demand an urgent response.
Zimbabwe endured a devastating drought in 2018/2019, which brought searing heat and caused massive crop failure. Then, in March 2019, the east of the country was struck by Cyclone Idai, displacing thousands of people and washing away their homes, crops and livelihoods. Since October 2019, Zimbabwe has experienced late and erratic rainfall, foreboding another poor harvest in 2020 and leaving the most vulnerable people in rural areas in need of assistance. In urban areas, many people are struggling to cope and having to forego essential items to put food on the table. Those hardest hit have been forced to resort to negative coping mechanisms, with particularly dangerous consequences for women and girls who are simply striving to survive.
In 2019, with the generous support of donors, who contributed nearly $240 million to the humanitarian response, partners were able to reach close to 2 million women, men and children with critical and life-saving interventions under the Humanitarian Appeal, in support of the Government-led response. Nearly 1.8 million people received food assistance support, complementing the Government’s distribution of food to 3.8 million people. An estimated 1.3 million people were provided with clean water and safe sanitation; 600,000 people have benefited from essential health services; and over 16,000 boys and girls were covered by child protection services. Yet, much more must be done to meet the growing needs.
Despite the ongoing efforts of Government and humanitarian partners, there is a need to scale up support to people in need in the most vulnerable communities. The recent Rapid Lean Season ZIMVAC and IPC report re-emphasizes the need for continued food assistance support. Recognizing the difficult circumstances, a Government Domestic and International Appeal for multisectoral assistance has been developed. This appeal as well as addressing humanitarian need in particular food assistance includes priority actions covering medium- and longer-term measures to build resilience and aid recovery, in particular for the agricultural sector. Support required to respond to the COVID-19 virus pandemic is also detailed in the Appeal.
The Government, recognizing the gravity of the situation, has already taken action. This has included: efforts to address the macro-economic challenges, including liquidity; finalizing contracts for the procurement of significant quantities of grain; relaxation of import controls, tariffs and taxes for basic commodities; and implementation of a targeted subsidy for maize meal. The Zimbabwe Recovery and Resilience Framework (ZRRF) has been developed by the Government with technical support from the World Bank, United Nations and European Union to support cyclone-affected communities. Despite these efforts, the daily challenges faced by communities are increasing and the austerity measures designed to stabilize the economy in the long-term are, in the short-term, negatively affecting household economies.
Against this backdrop, the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) has been developed to galvanize resources for humanitarian partners to rapidly ramp-up their operations and tackle the most critical needs across the country, in support of the Government response and appeal. The plan is evidence-based, robustly prioritized and principled, addressing the most critical and immediate needs targeting most affected districts.
Partners have made all efforts to ensure value-for-money, with full accountability to people affected. If fully funded, the HRP would bring desperately needed and immediate relief and respite to people facing dire circumstances across the country.
We recognize that humanitarian assistance is not a long-term solution and that efforts are urgently required to tackle the root causes of these needs. However, it is imperative that we act now to save lives and alleviate the suffering of millions of the most vulnerable people across the country. We therefore appeal to the international community to show solidarity and support for Zimbabweans at this critical juncture.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.