United Nations aid agencies said in the appeal, launched Monday, that their top priorities included human rights, rule of law, food security, nutrition, water, sanitation and resettling internally displaced people through Operation Murambatsvina – currently estimated at 700,000.
“The disruption of livelihoods due to economic deterioration, urbanisation, land reforms and Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order in 2005 has also produced a large population of mobile and vulnerable persons and migrants,” says the appeal.Â “Mobile and vulnerable populations often lack access to education and are highly vulnerable to unemployment, food insecurity, and deterioration in health.” Â
The appeal says despite hopes of improvements in the political environment following negotiations between the ruling party and the opposition under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community, the appeal process remains critical, especially in anticipation of the elections planned for March 2008. Â
“Vulnerable populations continue to be impacted by contentious governance and human rights issues.”
In the consolidated appeal, aid agencies called for $45 million for agriculture, $2,4 million for coordination and support services,Â $5,4 million for economic recovery and infrastructure, $5 million for education, $173 million food, $25 million for health, $43 million for multi sector, $6 million for the protection of human rights and the rule of law, and $9 million for water and sanitation.
The organization appealing for the largest amount, was the UN children’s agency (UNICEF); seeking to avert a largely man-made food crisis blamed on President Robert Mugabe.
Once a tremendously popular leader whose Marxist government provided Zimbabweans with free health care and education, Mugabe abandoned socialism after the Cold War ended and adjusted to a free-market economy. However, the economy has been hurt by widespread government corruption and mismanagement, economists and activists say.
SADC mediators have failed to unblock the impasse between President Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
People living in the drought-prone south of Zimbabwe are suffering the most in the crisis and live in “dramatic” conditions, the appeal said.
In the south people mainly struggle with poor sanitation and a lack of potable water, aid agencies say.
“Poor rains are also imposing water shortages on a significant proportion of the population, particularly in the south of the country,” says the appeal.Â “Increasing numbers of people are living with limited or no access to safe drinking water, including an estimated 1.5 million inhabitants of Bulawayo.”