Consolidated Appeal for Zimbabwe 2008
The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe continues to be impacted by a set of complex, overlapping and often worsening economic and social factors. Spiralling inflation, deteriorating physical infrastructure, the inability of the public sector to deliver basic social services, and the severe impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic have led to a decline in the overall health and well-being of the population. The erosion of livelihoods, food insecurity, rising malnutrition and the possibility of disease outbreaks are putting the already vulnerable population under further distress.
The inability of the agricultural sector to produce enough food, as well as the difficulties of importing foodstuffs, contribute to the growing food gap. National cereal production in 2007 is estimated to be 44% below the 2006 Government-reported figure, and in the first quarter of 2008 4.1 million people face food insecurity in urban and rural areas. Policy constraints and an increasingly uncertain pattern of weather, characterised by poor rains and droughts, is making farming difficult and unpredictable. Poor rains are also imposing water shortages on a significant proportion of the population, particularly in the south of the country. Increasing numbers of people are living with limited or no access to safe drinking water, including an estimated 1.5 million inhabitants of Bulawayo.
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. Mobile and vulnerable populations often lack access to education and are highly vulnerable to unemployment, food insecurity, and deterioration in health. 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 process remains critical, especially in anticipation of the elections planned for March 2008. Vulnerable populations continue to be impacted by contentious governance and human rights issues.
The polarised operating environment creates difficulties in categorising various vulnerable groups, yet humanitarian actors must target people based on vulnerabilities. Orphans and vulnerable children, estimated now at 1.6 million, are at greatest risk. Their growing number is a testament to the severe AIDS pandemic. At least 18% of the adult population is living with HIV/AIDS, although further improvement in reducing this figure has been recorded. Women, children and the elderly are especially at risk from the deterioration in social and medical services.
While the various groups have different vulnerabilities and ways of coping, the overall response capacities of the state and the population are being steadily eroded. The Consolidated Appeal has made a concerted effort to identify those most at risk and to analyse the sources of their vulnerability. There is compelling evidence of a humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, especially in the areas of maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation, child protection, and increasing poverty. Despite certain indicators showing worsening trends that would require urgent humanitarian action, there is also recognition that the decline can still be reversed. Zimbabwe’s progress since Independence in 1980, particularly in health and education, provides a strong bedrock upon which to base international assistance efforts.
Recognising that the primary responsibility for providing humanitarian assistance rests with the Government of Zimbabwe, the Consolidated Appeal for 2008 aims to provide timely and adequate humanitarian assistance to those in distress, focusing in particular on reducing food insecurity, the erosion of livelihoods, and the weakening of basic social services for the most vulnerable households. It aims to enhance preparedness for sudden emergencies both natural and man-made, to provide protection to the most vulnerable, and to mainstream and address cross-cutting issues such as HIV/AIDS, age, and gender. It aims as well to link humanitarian actions to transitional support including efforts to strengthen local coping mechanisms, and to link the CAP more effectively to the other tools and mechanisms that are in place to alleviate the suffering of Zimbabweans, such as the Zimbabwe-United Nations Development Assistance Framework.
To that end, a total of 42 appealing agencies, including United Nations agencies, international organisations, international and national NGOs, and community- and faith-based organisations, are requesting a total of $316,561,178 to implement the attached programmes and projects. Partners have indicated that $1,100,120 is already available for their proposed projects, leaving an outstanding requirement of $315,461,058.