Zimbabwe: OCHA Monthly Humanitarian Update, Dec 2009

Situation Report
Originally published


Key Points

- Hailstorms cause death, injuries and damage in Mashonaland Central province.

- Disease outbreaks stagnate.

- Highlights from ASG/DERC Ms. Catherine Bragg's mission to Zimbabwe.

- CAP 2010 launched with lower funding requirements.

I. Situation Overview

As the curtain closes on 2009, the outlook for Zimbabwe's humanitarian situation is less gloomy than last year. Humanitarian needs have altered sharply as reflected in the 2010 consolidated appeal (CAP), with a requirement of US$378 million, nearly half the US$719 million required in 2009.

Contributing factors to this change include improved rains, timely availability of agricultural inputs and better preparedness for disease outbreaks. The results are evident in the forecasts for next year's humanitarian needs such as a sharp reduction in the number of food insecure households and a decrease in the number of projected cholera cases.

However, the situation remains fragile and could succumb to any sudden shocks as noted by UN Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator (ASG/DERC), Ms. Catherine Bragg during her mission to Zimbabwe in December 2009.

"Any sudden shock can wipe out the recent gains. We must continue working together to avoid losing the momentum," she said.

Ms. Bragg, who was on a three-day mission during which she launched the CAP 2010 alongside Regional Integration and International Cooperation minister Ms. Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, commended the international community for generously supporting the 2009 cycle with contributions of more than 60% of the requirement.

She noted that despite improvements, some pockets of the population remained vulnerable and in need of humanitarian assistance. For example, the country faces a substantial national cereal deficit and about 1.9 million people will need food assistance at the peak of the 2010 hunger season from January to March. Since September 2009, Zimbabwe has been afflicted by three disease outbreaks, including cholera, measles and Pandemic Influenza. This is compounded by hailstorms that caused death, injury and substantial damage to property in December.

While providing humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities, it is important to be mindful of the impending transition to early recovery. Consequently, the CAP includes early recovery and "humanitarian plus" interventions such as repairs to water and sanitation systems, which although of a recovery nature, are considered time-critical and life-saving in the context of Zimbabwe. As a result, 60% of the requirement covers emergency aspects while 40% focuses on recovery.

It is important to maintain a balance and flexibility in supporting both the humanitarian and the recovery elements of assistance. The CAP is aligned with the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ)'s priorities, including the Short-Term Economic Recovery Programme (STERP), which is being succeeded by the recently launched STERP II. Humanitarian partners have observed the international community's increased engagement on recovery and transition planning allowing for continued "humanitarian plus" activities into 2010.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.