Joint Foreword by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works and the Humanitarian Coordinator
As Zimbabwe enters 2021, climatic shocks, economic challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic and containment measures have left an estimated 6.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
While 2020 began with prospects of a better harvest due to improved rainfall, the COVID-19 pandemic and associated containment measures in March 2020, had major consequences for the most vulnerable people across the country. In rural areas, the restrictions imposed to halt the pandemic impacted critical livelihoods, such as casual labour, the selling of livestock, and remittances and the suspension of school feeding exacerbated nutrition and protection challenges faced by children, especially in remote locations. In densely populated urban areas, people—who are used to buying essential items from daily earnings— faced sharp price increases. As economic pressures rose, so did family tensions and other risks, with women reporting a rise in gender-based violence and concerns regarding children’s wellbeing. Health services, which were already stretched prior to the arrival of COVID-19 have been further strained.
In 2020, with the generous support of donors, who contributed nearly US$212 million to the humanitarian response, partners were able to reach close to 4.2 million women, men and children with critical and life-saving interventions by the end of November, in support of the Government-led response: nearly 4.1 million people received food assistance, an estimated 743,000 people were provided with clean water and safe sanitation; 1.5 million people were supported to access essential health services; and over 224,000 boys and girls were covered by child protection services.
Yet, as we enter a new year challenged by a deadly global pandemic, the macroeconomic situation and widespread flooding, much more must be done to assist people in need across the country. In June 2020, the Government introduced a market-driven foreign exchange auction system which assisted in the stabilization of the local currency and helped bring about a marked stabilization of prices for goods and services. In 2021, the Government plans to provide food assistance to at least 5.5 million people. The food security situation is, however, likely to improve given the prospects of the 2020/2021 season.
Recognizing the breadth and depth of humanitarian needs in Zimbabwe, this Humanitarian Response Plan has been robustly prioritized to meet the most urgent life-saving and life-sustaining needs of people in both rural and urban areas, in complement to the Government’s response. It responds to the unique needs of women, men, boys and girls, as well as older people, people living with disabilities and people living with HIV. The plan is evidence-based and principled, with the response strictly targeted, based on needs, to assist and protect the most vulnerable people. Humanitarian partners have made all efforts to ensure value-for-money, with full accountability to people affected.
If fully funded, this plan will provide urgently needed relief and respite to people facing dire circumstances across the country. As humanitarian partners and Government strive to save and sustain lives and livelihoods, development partners continue to complement Government's efforts in addressing the root causes of vulnerability. We therefore implore the international community to support Zimbabweans at this critical juncture.
Hon. July Moyo Minister of Local Government and Public Works
Maria Ribeiro United Nations Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator for Zimbabwe
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.