Zimbabwe Humanitarian Situation Report 23 Jul 2003

Government of Zimbabwe appeals for humanitarian assistance
The Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) formally submitted an appeal for humanitarian assistance in food aid and recovery programmes to the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator on 21st July 2003. The appeal letter was delivered through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and was accompanied by an appeal document.

The GoZ have outlined in their appeal, the maize production deficit that they have estimated to be 711,835MT. Concern was also expressed about the HIV/AIDS pandemic and its linkage to food security, and the appeal has placed a great deal of emphasis on HIV/AIDS as well as the nutritional issues for those affected with HIV/AIDS.

Aspects of the GoZ appeal document have been captured and incorporated into the UN Consolidated Appeal document, to be launched in Pretoria on 25 July 2003.

Consolidated Appeal to be launched

The process of producing an inter-agency Consolidated Appeal for Zimbabwe is now complete. The 2003/2004 Zimbabwe CAP intends to respond to the humanitarian crisis by concentrating on three main areas of humanitarian response

  • Preventing loss of life through food and nutrition interventions;

  • Mitigate the impact of the crisis on vulnerable groups by supporting household livelihoods and basic services such as health, water and education;

  • Addressing the impact of HIV by increasing humanitarian support to prevention programmes, nutritional support, home-based care, drug supplies and increased co-ordination.

The total request for assistance for 2003/04 for Zimbabwe is nearly US$114 million. A further US$195 million is being requested for food assistance through the WFP EMOP. The CAP focuses predominantly on non-food assistance. Overall there remains a concentration on the provision of food assistance reflecting a continued need for emphasis in 2003/04 on humanitarian as opposed to recovery responses.

The 2003/04 CAP process is more inclusive than the previous year, particularly with regard to NGOs, where of the 73 proposals that were submitted, 43 have come from NGOs.

Collectively, stakeholders have proposed that the most significant amounts be funded under agricultural recovery (US$23.5 million), Health (US$8.7 million) and HIV/AIDS (US$8.5 million).

The first draft of the appeal document was submitted to the regional headquarters of OCHA Johannesburg and Geneva offices at the beginning of July and was distributed among the Inter-Agency Steering Committee (IASC) members for comment. The regional appeal document will be released to donors on 25 July 2003 in Pretoria. This will be closely followed by an official press launch on 29 July 2003 in Johannesburg and Geneva simultaneously.

ZimVAC Report released

The ZimVAC's Emergency Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment report for 2003/04 was last week published and circulated. The report's main focus was on assessing vulnerability to food insecurity at household level and on identifying linkages between household vulnerability and household demographics, rural sector (communal, resettled, commercial farm workers, etc.) and geographical area. An estimated 4.4 million rural people will be in need of food aid by the end of the current marketing year, with 389,000MT of cereals required as food aid.

Rural Population Food Insecure
by District: April/03 - Mar/02

The report highlights how many families coped last year by reducing the numbers of meals they ate, eating less preferred food including wild foods, and by cutting back on spending on other essentials such as agricultural inputs, healthcare and education. The problem of poor maize availability and high parallel market prices were responsible for many families not meeting their needs last year. While only 24% of households actually met all of their requirements, 33% and 75% of households had enough money to meet all their needs had maize been freely available at parallel market prices and at controlled prices respectively. Overall, former commercial farm workers without access to land were found to have been the most food insecure group last year, though communal populations in certain parts of the country were also severely affected.

Access to food (2002/03)

Linkages with other sectors are also examined in the report. For example, households with chronically ill adults were found to earn approximately 30% less income than those without; their cereal and cash crop production was also much reduced; and their children's school drop out rate was 50% higher. Similar patterns were found for households who had taken in orphans, and households with high dependency ratios. This highlights the need for HIV/AIDS considerations to be taken into account in a wide variety of interventions.

On education, 70% of households said the main reason for both boys and girls dropping out of primary school was found to be their inability to afford the costs, and hunger was the second most common reason given. Boys were more likely to be removed from school to work outside the home, while girls were more likely to be needed to carry out household activities or to look after other family members.

For the coming year, the greatest food aid needs will be in communal areas of the extreme north, west and south of the country, and among ex-farm workers without access to land. Newly resettled A1 farmers in the northern half of the country have performed best. The report highlights that although certain groups such as female-headed households, elderly-headed households and the chronically ill are more likely to be food insecure, not all households within those categories will be in need. Many households without such characteristics will also be in need, and therefore careful targeting will need to be done. The need for sufficient commercial or GMB imports to be made is also stressed, so that those with money can access adequate amounts of food. The report also highlights the need for greater attention to be paid to agricultural and livestock recovery, education and healthcare, and particularly to the needs of those affected by HIV/AIDS.

Urban Vulnerability Assessment

Plans to undertake an Urban Vulnerability Assessment in Zimbabwe are at an advanced stage. The assessment will be carried out under the auspices of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC), and in collaborate with FEWSNET, UN/RRU and the urban assessment technical committee. The proposed urban vulnerability assessment will endeavor to;

  • Identify food security and livelihoods problems, constraints, strategies and coping mechanisms among different social and economic groups in the urban sector.

  • Gain an in-depth analysis of the predisposing factors to food and livelihoods insecurity in the urban areas in order to inform policy and programme design as well as intervention.

  • Study household food expenditure and food access patterns among different socio-economic groups in the urban areas.

  • Establish baseline data on urban vulnerability and lay foundation for developing a practical monitoring system that provides an early indication of food security and livelihoods vulnerability.

  • Examine the linkages between food security, HIV/AIDS, education, child protection and health; and to

  • Identify food and non-food interventions and policy implications. The Urban Vulnerability Assessment will be based on a livelihoods vulnerability analysis framework and plans to cover all the different types of urban centres in Zimbabwe. About 4,375 individual households from a) the low-income suburbs or areas, b) medium-income suburbs, c) the high income areas or suburbs and d) the squatter camps and peri-urban areas will be interviewed and 152 focus group discussions are planned for. The vulnerability assessment will also include an institutional assessment for social services. Fieldwork is expected to run for two weeks starting in August 2003 and the assessment report is expected to be finalized by the end of September 2003.

WHO donation to MoH&CW

The World Health Organization have donates 35 motorcycles for the health outreach programme and 120 tons of LGP gas for operation of EPI refrigerators as part of the current humanitarian assistance to the public health sector.

The MoH&CW has been experiencing problems in accessing the most vulnerable populations. These problems have mainly been related to transport and this donation will go a long way in improving these communities access to health services.

The country is also experiencing a critical shortage of gas in the Rural Health Facilities resulting in vaccines being withdrawn from these health facilities and thus threatening the lives of the vulnerable under fives. This contribution is therefore very timely and should improve vaccine availability in the targeted populations. The contribution is expected to last for the next six months.

Disease surveillance

National weekly surveillance, focusing on national epidemiological trends, continues. Submissions of weekly data show constant fluctuations in completeness and timeliness, making it difficult to get a true picture of the epidemiological situation in the country.

The Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) training in the provinces is almost complete. During the past two weeks, 5 training sessions were conducted in 6 provinces (Midlands, Mashonaland West and East, Masvingo and Matebeleland North and South) resulting in over 120 health personnel being trained. The MoH&CW and WHO will conduct a follow-up to evaluate the impact of the training in disease surveillance.


Surveillance shows that diarrhoeal cases continue to be high. Considering the current inadequate reporting throughout the country, the problem could be much worse. Many areas have experience problems in obtaining chemicals for water purification, thus raising serious concerns that more outbreaks could occur. The diarrhoea outbreak reported in Chinhoyi Town in June is now under control. There were a total of 3,154 reported cases and 16 deaths mainly among under-fives.

NGOs, International Organizations, Donors, GoZ or private sector groups are welcome to submit articles to the Humanitarian Situation Report.

Articles for publication in the next report should be submitted by 30th July to RRU at the email address: rru.zw@undp.org