Zimbabwe: OCHA Monthly Situation Report, Dec 2008



- Cholera cumulative cases continue to rise with increasing fatalities; as at 4 January, 2009 there were 33,579 cumulative cases and 1,671 cumulative deaths as at 4 January, 2009;

- Devastating impact of inflation and local currency crash; the economy is literally dollarized;

- SADC humanitarian assistance package launched;

- Political stalemate continues as no inclusive government has been formed since the signing of the agreement by major political parties on the 15th of September, 2008;

- Social service delivery collapsing, notably education , health and water supply infrastructure;

- Increased donor support to cholera response


Humanitarian Access and Security

During the reporting period, no humanitarian access impediments were reported by humanitarian partners in the country. The security situation generally remained calm during the month though isolated incidences of politically motivated violence are reported in some parts of the country. The major areas of concern, apart from the health and economic problems, were pecuniary crimes. Major security concerns are; house break-ins, smash and grab and there was general increase of road accidents during the month due to the festive holidays


Food Security

According to the World Food Program (WFP), 5.9 million people were preliminarily registered to receive food under Vulnerable Group Feeding Program (VGF), of which 4.4 million of these are eligible to receive food assistance as they fall into worst categories of 1 and 2. Registrations of beneficiaries are still on-going and WFP plans to assist 4.5 million people within VGF each month until March 2009 when the main annual cereal harvest is due to start. The other major food pipeline in the country (C-SAFE) plans to assist 1.8 million people with food during the same period. WFP and C-SAFE pipelines combined will assist more than 50% of the population of Zimbabwe with food.

Initially WFP had planned to reach 3.5 million people with food assistance that is 40,000 mt of food under the VGF and 400,000 people under the Safety Net (SN) with nearly 4,000mt; but as at 26 December, 2008 WFP had reached 3.9 million beneficiaries with some 42,000 mt (3.6 million people under VGF with some 40,000 mt of food and approximately 340,000 people under the SN with 2,200mt). The beneficiary figures seem to be higher than earlier projections.

The WFP cholera response protocol was included in the OCHA led inter-agency contingency plan with objective of mitigating cross contamination vectors in Cholera Treatment Centres/Units. The rations which will average a minimum of 1,900 kcal per person per day will be prepared on site as to avoid any risks of cross-contamination. Beneficiaries of the assistance will include recovering patients, staff on duty as well as caretakers for young children and elders. WFP has initiated such assistance in partnership with MSF-Luxembourg in five CTU's of Manicaland and Masvingo provinces.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Response Activities

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has provided 14.82mt of food to 671 patients at 17 cholera treatment centres in Mudzi, Mutoko, UMP, Mutare, Mutoko, Chegutu and Rusape


In light of the extent of the cholera outbreak and impact in Zimbabwe, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare (MoHCW) called a meeting on the 3rd of December, 2008 and invited all humanitarian partners (UN-Agencies and NGOs) and key issues in the meeting were;

- Urgent need for financial assistance for both immediate cholera outbreak response and longer term revitalization of the health sector; main needs included incentives for health staff to return to work, health supplies and equipment, and water chemicals

- Request for all financial pledges to be placed into a single pooled fund.


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