According to the July 2019 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment report, nearly 5.5 million people, including 2.6 million children, in rural Zimbabwe are projected to need urgent humanitarian assistance during the peak hunger period January – March 2020. This is an increase from the 4.5 million people in need reported in January 2019.
To date, UNICEF has reached over 70,666 learners through the distribution of 135,354 textbooks, 120 classroom tents, 156 early childhood development (ECD) kits and 284 school-in-a-box kits in cyclone affected areas (Chimanimani and Chipinge Districts).
UNICEF provided over 860,000 people with access to safe drinking water, and 1,270,704 people were reached with critical WASH-related information and hygiene promotion activities in cyclone affected and atrisk areas.
UNICEF is appealing for US$18.4 million to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of children and women affected by multiple hazards, of which 10.9 million is for the cyclone response.
Situation in Numbers
- 5.5 million people in rural areas affected by drought during the peak hunger season
- 2.6 million Children affected by drought in need of humanitarian assistance
- 270,000 people affected by Cyclone Idai/Floods
- UNICEF HAC Appeal US$18.4 million of which US$10.9 million is for the cyclone response
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
Due to the impact of drought, nearly 5.5 million people in rural Zimbabwe are estimated to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection during the 2019/2020 peak hunger period, which runs from January to March 2020; a 20 percent increase from the 4.5 million people reported in January 2109 . This includes nearly 2.6 million children. Three provinces [Matabeleland North (68%), Masvingo (64%) and Midlands (63%)] have been projected to have the highest levels of food insecure households during the peak hunger period. Eleven districts are projected to have more than 70 per cent of their households having inadequate means to meet their food needs without resorting to severe livelihoods and consumption coping strategies.
The food insecurity situation will be further compounded by the ongoing macro-economic crisis. The ZimVAC results also highlighted that the national prevalence of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) was 3.6 per cent, with boys more affected than girls due to poor child care practices. In addition, eight districts out of a total of 60 districts reported GAM levels which are over 5 per cent. The national prevalence of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) was 1.4 per cent with 13 districts recording SAM levels above 2 per cent. In addition, an estimated 270,000 people, including 129,600 children, affected by the flooding from the cyclone remain in need of critical, lifesaving nutrition support to enable them to recover from the impact of the floods.
As of 30 June, 339 people had been reported dead and over 349 people were reported missing due to the cyclone. The IOM supported Displacement Tracking Mechanism (DTM) assessment at the village level highlighted that almost 51,000 people have been displaced due to the flooding. A total of 97.5 per cent of these displaced persons were still living in host communities and 2.5 per cent were residing in camp sites and collective centers at the end of June. The relocation plan for those in collective centers and those in high risk areas is still being finalized whilst resource mobilization efforts are being prioritized. The risk of water-borne and vector borne diseases remains high in the most flood affected districts. During the reporting period, the country reported 5,634 typhoid cases of which 165 have been confirmed and 12 deaths (a case fatality rate of 0.21%).
In addition, the country is facing is an economic downturn characterized by hyperinflation, which was 175 per cent in June 2019 up from 97.85 per cent in May. The hyperinflation has caused an increase in the price of basic commodities, as well as the general cost of living. The country also faces frequent load shedding exercises (scheduled power cuts) to prevent the complete collapse of the power grid, which also impacts negatively on safe water supplies.