• According to the Zimbabwe Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP, 2020) launched on 2 April, 2020, 7 million people (including 3.2 million children) are projected to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in 2020.
• The ZimVAC report of February 2020 indicates that the national GAM prevalence is 3.7% with the national SAM prevalence being 1.45%
• 2,533 children under five years were admitted for treatment of severe acute malnutrition from January to March 2020.
• The reduced ability of Government to purchase water treatment chemicals, along with poor electricity availability had curtailed hours of water pumping leading to water shortages and negative coping mechanisms.
• Year-on-year inflation, which stood at 540.16% in February 2020, has eroded wages, wiped out domestic savings, and pushed prices of basic goods and services beyond the reach of many.
• As of 9 April, Zimbabwe has recorded 11 cases of COVID-19 with 3 deaths.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The impact of multi-hazards of drought, floods, economic deterioration coupled with the recent COVID-19 pandemic is affecting about 7 million people, including 3.2 million children in Zimbabwe who are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection during 2020. The humanitarian needs have increased by 27 per cent from the 5.5 million people reported in rural ZIMVAC in August 2019. In addition, 2.2 million people in urban areas, are “cereal food insecure,” according to the Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) analysis of August 2019. Of the 55,593 water sources tracked by the rural water information management system (RWIMS), only 30% are with water, functional and protected, which increases the risk of WASH diseases, especially in 23.8% of households lacking improved access and16% traveling more than 1km to fetch water from the nearest primary water source.
The macroeconomic crisis has been worsening in the country with year-on-year inflation reaching 540.16% by February 2020. This hyperinflation is exacerbating vulnerabilities, especially among children and women as households are struggling to obtain basic foodstuffs and services such as healthcare, water and sanitation and education. The combined impact of drought and economic deterioration has worsened the dire situation of vulnerable children, placing them at a heightened risk of increased protection violations particularly negative coping strategies such as sexual exploitation and abuse, child marriage and child labour.
The Health sector, reeling from the impacts of recent protracted strike by health workers from September-December has been further stretched by the recent outbreak of COVID-19. The COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown from 30 March has adversely impacted economic activities, both formal and informal leading to loss or reduction of household incomes and necessitating the need for appropriate social protection mechanisms.
Other impacts have included restricted access to basic services such as education, health, nutrition, WASH and child protection due to limited access to essential lifesaving supplies on the local market.Post published in: Featured