Zimbabwe Year–end Humanitarian Situation Report January – December 2017



  • UNICEF and partners screened 240,674 children for acute malnutrition and provided lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) to 10,020 children aged 0-59 months in 2017.

  • The child protection sector reached a total of 20,741 children affected by drought and floods with child protection services focusing on psychosocial support, alternative care and reunification of Unaccompanied and Separated Children (UASC) with their families. UNICEF also supported recreational activities through Child Friendly Spaces during the period January to December 2017.

  • A total of 481,880 people were reached with safe water in 2017 through the rehabilitation of existing water points and drilling of new boreholes

  • The Ministry of Health and Child Care with support from UNICEF reached 87,380 children affected by diarrhoeal diseases with life-saving curative interventions through the provision of drugs and essential medical supplies.


1.1 million
People projected to be food insecure during the peak hunger period
(January-March 2018)
(ZimVAC report, July 2017)

Children aged 0-59 months with SAM from 20 drought-affected districts admitted and treated in the IMAM programme as of 29 December 2017
(DHIS, December 2017)

Cumulative typhoid cases comprising 1,877 suspected, 155 laboratory confirmed and 0 reported deaths during the period 1 October to 31 December 2017
(MOHCC, December 2017)

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Zimbabwe experienced multiple hazards in 2017, namely drought, floods, and outbreaks of cholera and typhoid. The drought situation improved during the second quarter of 2017 due to improved rains which culminated in improved harvests. The ZimVAC report of July 2017 projected that an estimated 1.1 million people would be food insecure during the peak hunger period (January to March 2018), a decrease from 4.2 million people projected during the same period in 2017. Overall, there was a decrease in the global acute malnutrition (GAM) point prevalence from 4.4 per cent in 2016 to 3.2 per cent in 2017 (ZimVAC Report May 2016 and July 2017). The decrease in GAM and people estimated to be food insecure was mainly due to an improvement in the 2016-2017 rainfall and agricultural season which was felt across the country and the well-coordinated emergency response programme implemented by different sectors with support from Donors.

Despite an improvement in the food and nutrition security situation, the humanitarian situation remained dire as 37 out of a total of 60 districts were affected by localized and widespread flooding caused by torrential rains during the period February to April 2017 prompting the Government to declare a state of flood disaster and launching a humanitarian appeal. The most affected areas were in the southern provinces of Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South, Midlands and Manicaland Provinces. Results from the government-led multi-sectoral assessments indicated that 251 people were killed and 128 others injured due to varying impacts of the heavy rains, among them drowning, lightning strikes and injuries. Over 2,600 houses were destroyed countrywide, leaving hundreds of people homeless. The flooding affected thirteen of the drought affected districts.

In the midst of the drought and flooding, the country also experienced an escalation of a protracted typhoid outbreak which increased in severity during the period (January to March 2017). In 2017, a total of six cholera cases including three deaths were reported (MoHCC epi-bulletin 52). Harare is currently experiencing a resurgence of a typhoid outbreak. Between 1 October 2017 until 31 December 2017, a total of 2,032 typhoid cases were confirmed comprised of 1,877 suspected, 155 laboratory confirmed and 0 reported deaths.

According to the Meteorological Services Department, the national climate outlook forecast shows that average to above average rains will be received in the northeastern half of the country during the period January to March 2018. The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) reports highlighted that water levels in some dams are close to maximum storage capacity, due to above-average precipitations received during the previous rainfall season. The average national dam storage capacity as of October 2017 stood at 70 per cent, just before the start of the 2017/18 rain season. Approximately 62 per cent of urban centers in the country still have water supplies which last for more than 20 months. The other 38 per cent of urban centers have water supply ranging between 10 and 19 months.