ECHO Factsheet – Zimbabwe (Last updated 07/03/2023)

1.63 million people in urban areas and 3.82 million people population are estimated to be acutely food insecure

Facts & figures

1.63 million people in urban areas and 3.82 million people population are estimated to be acutely food insecure

Over 41,000 people remain displaced in camps and host communities (IOM)

Zimbabwe hosts about 24,000 refugees

EU humanitarian funding:
€7.4million in 2023
€6.8 million in 2022


In Zimbabwe, recurrent climatic shocks and a protracted and deteriorating economic environment have left millions requiring humanitarian assistance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to reduced income and food sources and to the local population’s inability to access essential commodities. This is compounded by climatic shocks, including drought and tropical storms and cyclones.

What are the needs?

Due to climatic shocks, over 41,000 people remain internally displaced in camps and host communities. They live under severe health and protection risks, including mistreatment, gender-based violence, early/child marriage, exploitation, and social exclusion.

With an escalating malaria outbreak and over 1.3 million people living with HIV, COVID-19 has put additional pressure on an already strained health system. The pandemic has adversely impacted access to basic nutrition, protection services and education.

Around 1/3 of the urban (1.63 million people) and rural populations (3.82 million people) are currently food insecure. The decreasing availability of safe water, sanitation and hygiene has heightened the risk of infectious disease outbreaks, notably in urban areas.

Moreover, the impact of the war in Ukraine on the price, availability and access to food, fuel, fertilisers, and other commodities further exacerbates food insecurity and Zimbabwe’s overall humanitarian situation.

At least 500,000 Zimbabwean migrants have returned home since COVID-19 started. They require income opportunities to support reintegration into their communities.

Meanwhile, tightened immigration laws and xenophobic attacks in South Africa may force up to 250,000 Zimbabweans currently living in South Africa to return throughout 2023.

Zimbabwe has reported a steady influx of refugees from across Africa. They mostly come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique.

The country hosts about 24,000 refugees from Mozambique, Burundi, Rwanda and other countries in the region. Of them, 15,000 require urgent food, shelter, education and protection assistance.

How are we helping?

In 2023, the EU made an initial allocation of €7.4 million in humanitarian assistance. This funding includes €4 million contribution to reducing food insecurity of the most vulnerable urban population through multi-purpose cash assistance.

The EU funding also supports disaster preparedness. We support solutions to promote the health of urban citizens, as well as migrant populations and people on the move (pastoralists, petty traders, day labourers, etc.).

To this end, the EU is reinforcing the preparedness and early response capacity of local authorities and organisations to respond to epidemics in hazard-prone areas.

EU humanitarian assistance also aims to support and protect vulnerable migrant returnees, strengthen preparedness for displacement, and improve the management of mixed migration flows.

The EU will continue funding information tools that have proven critical to better understand and identify the underlying, complex and interrelated causes of displacement and inform the humanitarian response.

In addition, the European Commission is providing €100 million in humanitarian assistance to support the rollout of vaccination campaigns in African countries with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems.

At least €8.9 million out of this funding supported vaccination campaigns for the most vulnerable in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region. €2.05 million was allocated to humanitarian organisations in Zimbabwe.

Partners have also carried out COVID-19 prevention and control activities, information dissemination campaigns, distribution of personal protective equipment, promotion of access to water and hygiene, and organised hygiene awareness sessions for households.

EU humanitarian and development assistance continue to work together to strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable communities.

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