Zimbabwe Situation Report, 21 Apr 2020



  • The first imported COVID-19 case was reported on 21 March 2020 and local transmission started on 24 March. As of 20 April, 25 COVID-19 cases were confirmed, including three deaths.

  • Despite a one-week disruption due to COVID-19 and the lockdown, nearly 3.4 million people received food or cash assistance in March.

  • The number of children treated for acute malnutrition has reduced from 952 in January to 741 in February and 354 in March.

  • Since the start of the lockdown, national GBV hotlines have recorded a call increase of over 90 per cent. The child helpline received an increase of 43 per cent in the daily calls.

  • About 43,350 people remain displaced in four camps and in host communities.

Situation Overview

Across Zimbabwe, 7 million people in urban and rural areas are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, compared to 5.5 million in August 2019. Since the launch of the Revised Humanitarian Appeal in August 2019, circumstances for millions of Zimbabweans have worsened. Drought and crop failure, exacerbated by macro-economic challenges and austerity measures, have directly affected vulnerable households in both rural and urban communities. Inflation continues to erode purchasing power and affordability of food and other essential goods is a daily challenge. The delivery of healthcare, clean water and sanitation, and education has been constrained and millions of people are facing challenges to access vital services.

There are more than 4.3 million people severely food insecure in rural areas in Zimbabwe, according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, undertaken in February 2020. In addition, 2.2 million people in urban areas, are “cereal food insecure,” according to the most recent Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) analysis. Erratic and late 2019/2020 rains forebode the possibility of a second poor harvest. Nutritional needs remain high with over 1.1 million children and women requiring nutrition assistance. At least 4 million vulnerable Zimbabweans are facing challenges accessing primary healthcare and drought conditions trigger several health risks. Decreasing availability of safe water, sanitation and hygiene have heightened the risk of communicable disease outbreaks for 3.7 million vulnerable people. Some 1.2 million school-age children are facing challenges accessing education. The drought and economic situation have heighted protection risks, particularly for women and children. A year after Cyclone Idai hit Zimbabwe, 128,270 people remain in need of humanitarian assistance across the 12 affected districts in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces. There are 21,328 refugees and asylum seekers in Zimbabwe who need international protection and multisectoral life-saving assistance to enable them to live in safety and dignity.

As of 20 April, the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) in Zimbabwe had reported 25 confirmed COVID-19 cases including three deaths, as well as at least 3,283 suspected cases of COVID-19 which tested negative. With the first cases reported in Zimbabwe as of 20 March, and the recent increase of COVID-19 transmission in the region, the Government of Zimbabwe is strengthening and accelerating preparedness and response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Following the declaration of COVID-19 as a national disaster on 19 March 2020, the Zimbabwe National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19 was launched with an initial eight pillars of coordination, the creation of a national COVID-19 Response Task Force and the formation of the Inter-Ministerial Committee. The Government of Zimbabwe declared a 21-day nationwide lockdown starting on 30 March 2020 ensuring the continuity of essential services. On 19 April, the lockdown was extended by two weeks.


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