Zimbabwe Humanitarian Situation Report 25 Feb 2003

UN launches Mid-term review of CAP
The United Nations launched its Mid-Term Review of the 2002/03 Consolidated Appeal (CAP) for the humanitarian crisis in Southern Africa (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland) on the 14th February 2003. The original appeal, launched in July 2002, was for US$611 million - US$507 million for food and US$104 million for non-food items. The response to this appeal amounted to just over US$350 million - of which more than US$320 million has been for food. The revised CAP has placed a special emphasis on the urgent need for non-food items. According to latest estimates, despite food and other assistance to date, more than 15 million men, women and children are now extremely vulnerable in the region.

In launching the review in Johannesburg, Judith Lewis, Regional Coordinator for the UN Special Envoy for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa urged "Not only does the UN need continued food donations over the next months, but to help get the region back onto its feet, we must see increased and immediate pledges for vital relief items such as water, sanitation and educational supplies, agricultural inputs and medicines to fight off disease, HIV/AIDS in particular, which is threatening to tear apart Southern African societies."

As well as emphasizing the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS in the region, particular attention was drawn to the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, where despite significant progress towards meeting the core relief objectives defined in the CAP, there are still constraints on effective relief programming.

Special Envoys Report released

The mission report of the Special Envoys joint tour of Southern Africa was released on 10th February 2003. Mr. James Morris, Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa and Mr. Stephen Lewis, Special Envoy of the Secretary General for HIV/AIDS in Africa visited four affected countries in the region from 22-29 January 2003 including Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia, and were in Zimbabwe from 23-25 January 2003.

While there are many similarities, the uniqueness of the challenges facing Zimbabwe, when compared to those facing the other countries in the region, were emphasised as having a significant impact on the effectiveness of relief and recovery efforts. In particular, the policy environment was mentioned as having a significant impact on agricultural production and on emergency interventions.

A central theme in the report for Zimbabwe is the need for new and creative thinking in interventions dealing with HIV/AIDS.

For an electronic copy of this report please email rru.zw@undp.org

HIV/AIDS priority interventions identified

The HIV/AIDS and Population and Basic Social Services (PBSS) thematic group met on the 18th February 2003 to discuss in particular, the role of the thematic group in the context of the ongoing humanitarian crisis. It was observed that in the recent Vulnerability Assessment for Zimbabwe (ZIMVAC), there is very little information on HIV/AIDS. The theme group will provide technical assistance to ZIMVAC in future to ensure that indicators on HIV/AIDS are included.

While the thematic group stressed that initiatives taken during the crisis must help strengthen and maintain the ongoing programmes, priority interventions were identified as follows:

  • Targeted supplementary feeding towards People Living with HIVAIDS (PLWA), orphans, chronically ill patients, child headed households, pregnant women and lactating women;

  • Supply of Home-Based Care (HBC) kits and HBC training to be targeting through village registers, clinic records, community systems and AIDS committees;

  • Intensified Information Communication and Education (IEC) programmes and condom distribution to include linkages with the food distribution activities of WFP and NGOs;

  • Psycho-social support training for families with chronically ill persons, to include counselling, care, financial support etc

  • Supply of drugs for opportunistic infections through home-based care activities and clinics; and

  • Anti-retro viral (ARV) drugs to be distributed through Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) programmes.

These intervention areas will be developed further by UNAIDS and other key agencies. Resource mobilisation remains crucial however. The group agreed that the expected sources may be:
  • Re-programming existing funds with different agencies
  • Donors - both through and outside the CAP
  • Communities
  • The private sector
  • National resources

Current HIV/AIDS activities

UNICEF reported that 1,422 Home Based Care kits for people sick with AIDS, especially children and women, arrived for distribution to 12 districts. Each district is will receive 120 kits. The HBC kits contain pain killers (paracetamol), water purification tablets, eye ointment, materials for wound cleaning and treatment including soap, gauze, bandage, adhesive tape, iodine solution, chlorhexidine and gloves. UNICEF will also insert a booklet on nutrition for PLWAs and in future would like to supply condoms with the kits. A handover to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (MoH&CW) and NGOs took place on Friday the 21st February 2003.

The MoH&CW organized a Voluntary Testing and Counselling (VCT) stakeholders meeting from 5th to 6th February, 2003. The objectives were; to share experiences and ideas on HIV/AIDS counselling and testing services, to learn about what each organization offers in the area of VCT, to map strategies on rural expansion and integration of VCT services and finally to establish a networking and referral system between VCT centres and other support organizations.

Urban vulnerability baseline to be piloted

Vulnerability and food security assessments and monitoring have traditionally focused on rural areas in Zimbabwe. Since independence, however, the urban population has almost tripled from an estimated 1.6 million in 1982 to 4.4 million in 2000. The 1995/96 Poverty Assessment Study Survey (PASS) estimated that 39% of those living in urban areas were poor, while 1999 estimates indicated that the figure jumped to 60%. With the changing political, economic and social conditions in Zimbabwe, it is ever more important to understand and monitor people's vulnerability.

In response to the concern about the growing number of poor households in urban areas of Zimbabwe, and in an effort to increase understanding of food security conditions and vulnerability, the UN and some NGOs are planning to conduct a livelihood assessment for assessing and monitoring urban households' access to essential items and vulnerability. The results of this assessment will help in the design of effective responses or pre-emptive actions to keep urban populations above a minimum threshold of food security.

FEWSNET and WFP will organise the initial implementation of this urban vulnerability baseline in Harare and Bulawayo. Lessons learned from this stage, as well as from existing studies and information systems, will help in the development of the expanded study.

MPs tour farms

Accompanied by the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe (FCTZ), the Parliamentary Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare have completed a tour of farms in Mashonaland Central and East Provinces to assess the vulnerability of farm workers. The week long tour took place from 10th to13th February 2003. The committee will shortly submit a report on their findings and recommendations.

Food distribution update

WFP Pipeline

During the first fifteen days of February, WFP distributed 27,500MT of food to 2.4 million beneficiaries. The distributions are about 51% of the planned tonnage for the month. Since February 2002, WFP has distributed just over 189,000MT of relief food in 49 districts throughout Zimbabwe. Serious concern exists with respect to the food aid pipeline, with current funding levels only enabling WFP to meet its programme needs through to the end of June.

C-SAFE Pipeline

The Consortium for Southern Africa Food Security Emergency (C-SAFE) is a USAID funded initiative carried out by World Vision (WV), CARE and Catholic Relief Service (CRS) to meet immediate to long-term food security needs in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia. The Zimbabwe programme, which began in January 2003, targets 664,746 beneficiaries in seven districts. To date, 40,100MT of food commodities has been allocated to Zimbabwe under C-SAFE. The programme provides a general distribution in seven districts with a ration that is coordinated with WFP. WV is working in Bulilimamangwe and Beitbridge, CRS is working in Chegutu and Kadoma, and CARE is working in Gweru, Chirumanzu, and Gutu. WV and CRS will also provide a supplementary ration of corn-soya blend (CSB) to targeted vulnerable groups, including growth-faltering children under five years.

NGO Focus - World Vision

World Vision began distributing WFP food in Gwanda District in February 2002. The programme expanded rapidly and World Vision is now targeting 1,343,888 beneficiaries living in the communal areas of Chikomba, Goromonzi, Marondera, Mudzi, Murehwa, Mutoko, Seke, UMP, Wedza, Mt. Darwin, Chiredzi, Bubi, Lupane, Umguza, Gwanda and Matobo Districts. With this expansion, WV will be distributing 16,664MT per month in the 16 districts.

World Vision has also been implementing a bilateral food distribution programme in the two districts of Bulilimamangwe and Beitbridge. USAID's Office of Food for Peace (FFP) has provided WV with 19,710MT of food commodities. The program provides a general ration to 97,440 vulnerable beneficiaries. In addition to the general distribution, WV is also conducting a supplementary feeding program for 147,000 extremely vulnerable beneficiaries in eight districts: Lupane, Umguza, Bubi, Bulilimamangwe, Matobo, Gwanda, and Beitbridge in Matabeleland Province and Chiredzi in Masvingo Province.

In total World Vision Zimbabwe has distributed over 36,000MT of food to more than 600,000 beneficiaries in partnership with the World Food Program and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in February 2002.

Maize Imports

The shortage of foreign exchange to pay for private transport of maize imports was recently cited by the acting head of GMB, and in the media as an obstacle to the provision of food by the institution. This shortage of foreign currency is likely to continue to hamper government efforts to purchase and transport additional amounts of food in the coming year, and further reinforces the argument for the active involvement of the private sector in the importation and marketing of food.

Crop condition

More than fifty percent of the country has poor crop conditions. In some parts of the country, particularly in the southern regions, total crop failure has been recorded. The map shows that the crop condition is generally poor throughout the country, with the southern part severely affected, where the crop water availability did not meet the expected requirements. Only far north and small patches in the west and central part of the country show good crop condition.

Crop Condition as indicated by the Water Requirements Satisfaction Index (WRSI)
First ten Days of February 2003


Current status of rolling assessments

Crop and Livestock assessment planned

The National Early Warning Unit (NEWU) for food security intends to carry out a crop and livestock assessment exercise providing information on national food security. The assessment is scheduled to run from the 24 February 2003 - 7 March 2003. The intention is to have four inter-agency/GoZ teams in the nationwide assessment.

Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment

Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC) is planning to conduct a series of vulnerability assessments of food security and vulnerability. The first assessment will follow the Government crop assessment (mentioned above) and the planned FAO/WFP crop assessment. The ZIMVAC assessment will be a micro-level survey with household-level analysis, while the FAO and NEWU assessments are macro level surveys looking at national food security concerns.

A series of 3 assessments will run as follows;

April/May -to assess what the situation will be for consumption for the following year.

August/September - to get a clear indication on both the volume of commercial imports that have come into the country, and the production outcomes of winter harvest. Both of these are necessary in terms of revising target numbers

November/December - this assessment should give a statement of the next crop based on weather and inputs - seeds fertilizers, tillage (availability and affordability) to some degree of confidence. Again this will help in the revision of targets.

ZIMVAC are also planning to update the 1996 livelihoods zoning map to add value to the next round of assessments. This update is important in light of the changes that have taken place in Zimbabwe since 1996, particularly with regard to the land reform. Zones that have emerged since 1996 include:

  • Old commercial farms
  • Small-scale farms
  • Communal areas
  • Old resettlement areas
  • New resettlement farms (A1)
  • New resettlement farms (A2)

This task is expected to be complete by the end of March 2003

Water and Sanitation Initiatives

HIV/AIDS and Water and Sanitation intergration

A national workshop to identify HIV/AIDS challenges and develop response guidelines in the context of Water, the Environment and Sanitation (WES) interventions took place from 17-20 February 2003. This workshop brought together national and provincial water and sanitation committee members and those NGOs active in the water and sanitation sector. This is viewed as a major milestone in integrating HIV/AIDS and Water and Sanitation.

Hygiene education for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC)

UNICEF have reported that the project on Improving Livelihoods of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) through provision of water and sanitation and hygiene education is going on very well despite the national shortages of fuel and cement. 74 new Blair Ventilated Improved pit latrines and four shallow wells have been completed in Bulilimamangwe, Gokwe North and Mt. Darwin districts to benefit OVC.

A joint monitoring and support team comprising the National Action Committee, Provincial Water and Sanitation Sub-Committee for the Rural Water and Sanitation Programme and UNICEF visited Tsholotsho District of Matabeleland North Province from 4th to 6th February 2003. The purpose of the visit was to follow up on the borehole component supplies delivered towards the end of 2002, and monitor the performance of the contractor in the rehabilitation of boreholes. At the time of the visit, a total of 16 boreholes out of the targeted 46 had been cleaned out, of which 2 had been rehabilitated and were supplying safe water to more than 500 people. On the spot technical advice was given to the teams on the ground as well as the District Water and Sanitation Sub-Committee.

World Vision to launch Water and Sanitation Programme

A vast water and sanitation programme has been initiated by World Vision Zimbabwe that is set to benefit about 51,800 people (10,360 families) who have been affected by the drought, in the Mukumbura area in Mount Darwin, 260km north of Harare. This area is in a region characterized by high temperatures and erratic and low rainfall, it is prone to drought and surface water is scarce even in normal conditions. The €420,000 programme, funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), aims to reduce the incidence of diarrhoeal diseases and decrease the distance travelled to protected water sources for 51,899 people in the 6 wards of the Mt Darwin District.

The activities will include; drilling of 22 new boreholes; rehabilitation and upgrading of 51 existing water points; construction of 10 school toilet blocks; and 108 participatory health education workshops conducted over a period of 8 months until August 2003.

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccination

FAO has supplied 340,000 doses for FMD vaccination to support the efforts of the Department of Veterinary Services in controlling the spread of the disease; actual vaccination is planned to start by the end of February. This intervention has been funded by the Netherlands Government in the context of a sub-regional programme.

Disease surveillance

Diarrhoeal cases

Diarrhoeal cases were on the increase with 4,847 cases reported and 26 deaths. The cases show an increase of 39% compared to the previous week. The majority of the cases were reported in Midlands with Gweru city reporting 911 cases. This was reported to be due to cross contamination of drinking water pipes from a burst sewer. The situation is reported to be under control. Clinical dysentery, on the other hand, showed a decrease of 4% from last week and no deaths. There were also no new cholera cases reported from 10 January to date.

The WHO Country Office received technical support from the Regional Health Advisor, Dr. Rumishael Shoo on issues of cholera epidemic preparedness and response. Meetings were held with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare as well as the Regional Health Delegate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. It was agreed, during the meetings, that the country needed to strengthen its surveillance, monitoring, preparedness and response to cholera epidemics, and the need to move from response alone to mitigation. The need for a coordinated response including UNICEF, WHO, IFRC, MoH&CW and the private sector was agreed upon. A meeting to initiate a regional cholera strategy was scheduled for 21/02/03.


Malaria incidence and deaths are on the on the increase. The clinical malaria cases currently stand at 10,459 reported and 21 deaths, showing an increase of 11%. The hardest hit provinces are Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East with 3,255 and 2,343 reported cases respectively. The cumulative clinical malaria cases currently stand at 71,380 and 117 deaths by week 5 of 2003. Increases have also been noted in Mutasa, Nyanga, Chipinge, Makonde and Chegutu in Mashonaland West. The drug supplies are still inadequate and erratic, insecticides are inadequate and transport for indoor residual spraying, and the communication systems are also unreliable. The free combination therapy, which was recommended by the Case Management Sub-committee, is not being followed countrywide.

Malaria drug situation for Zimbabwe (in doses)
National Requirement
Monthly Consumption
Current Available Stock
Stock for 3 Months
What MoH&CW can provide
150mg base
S-P (Fansidar)
Quinine Tabs
300mg in 500

Source: WHO
*These drugs were ordered and should have been received by January 2003 but have not yet been received to date.


The UNICEF Regional EPI Advisor, Bob Davies and the EPI Advisor from UNICEF New York Headquarters, Paul Fife visited Zimbabwe 12-14 February 2003 to assist the Country Office response to the EPI situation. They held several discussions with WHO, MoH&CW and ECHO, and presented their ideas/findings at an ad-hoc meeting of the EPI Inter-Agency Co-ordination Committee (ICC). The EPI ICC resolved to meet once every month to ensure the close monitoring of EPI service delivery nationwide

Vaccine storage

Liquid propane gas (LPG), the gas that fuels the cold chain remains in short supply. LPG has run out in some peripheral health centres forcing them to suspend vaccination services and move vaccines to district or provincial stores. The current fuel shortage has also crippled outreach services, vaccine deliveries, routine supervision and surveillance activities. With the funds made available by the Government of the Netherlands, UNICEF will try to get LPG from South Africa. This will, however, not be enough to cover all of 2003.

UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator / RRU

Information Reference of Humanitarian Assistance Meetings
February/March 2003

NB: Meetings are by invitation only.
Please contact the focal point person if you wish information about any of these meetings

24th Feb '03 Friends of Humanitarian Co-ordinator: contact A. Rosing, UNDP
24th Feb '03 GOZ/Donors meeting, Contact: Annika Rosing, UNDP
25th Feb '03 Inter-Agency Task Force on Health: Contact S Khupe, WHO
27th Feb '03 FAO/NGO coordination meeting on Emergency Agricultural Inputs Contact Morris Mudiwa, FAO
28th Feb '03 Water and Sanitation WG: contact M. Jonga, UNICEF
5th Mar '03 Education WG: contact Carla Rosa-Borges, UNICEF
6th Mar '03 Nutrition WG: contact Stanley Chitekwe, UNICEF
10th Mar '03 Friends of Humanitarian Co-ordinator: contact A. Rosing, UNDP
17th Mar '03 GOZ/Donors meeting, Contact: Annika Rosing, UNDP
20th Mar '03 Child Protection WG: Contact: M. Huijbregts, UNICEF

NGOs, International Organizations, Donors 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 5th March to RRU at the email address: rru.zw@undp.org

For additional information or comments, please contact the United Nations Relief and Recovery Unit, Harare - tel: +263 4 792681, ext. 207 or e-mail: rru.zw@undp.org