Mid-Year Review of the Consolidated Appeal for Zimbabwe 2006
The humanitarian challenges involving vulnerable groups continue to be of great concern in Zimbabwe. A large proportion of the total populationof the country (11.8 million) is considered vulnerable, including groups such as children that have lost one or both parents (1.3 million; United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF]), people living with Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus/Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) (1.8 million; United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS [UNAIDS]), the chronically ill, people with severe disabilities (230,000; Central Statistical Office [CSO]), populations with disputed citizenship, refugees (10,000; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR]), food-insecure communities (at least one million; World Food Programme [WFP]), ex-farm workers (160,000 households affected; United Nations Development Programme [UNDP]) and those directly affected by Operation Murambatsvina/Operation Restore Order (OM/ORO) (650,000-700,000; United Nations Special Envoy).
Over one million people will continue to require regular, sustained food assistance, as the country has harvested less than its required 1.8 million metric tonnes (MTs) needed to feed the population. Further, while the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among adults is reported to have dropped to 20.1% in 2006, the disease continues to cause the death of an estimated 3,000 Zimbabweans per week. HIV/AIDS has also fuelled a rapid growth in the number of orphans and vulnerable children. The loss of small-scale and subsistence farmers to AIDS and the high level of AIDS-related morbidity have also contributed to increased food insecurity at household levels: due to AIDS many people are dying in their most productive age. Food insecurity may also increase risk of HIV infection (e.g. by necessitating negative coping mechanisms), and worsen the physical resilience of those already infected (e.g. because of impaired diet).
The effects of OM/ORO, which took place between May and July 2005 and targeted what the Government considered to be illegal housing structures and informal businesses, continues to compound the humanitarian situation. The operation led to an increase in the number of displaced and homeless people, combined with loss of livelihoods for those that previously worked in the informal sector. Based on Government estimates that 133,000 households were evicted during the Operation, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe estimated that some 650,000-700,000 people were directly affected through the loss of shelter and/or livelihoods. The Government of Zimbabwe later contested these figures, and stated that the affected population constituted 2,695 households placed in transit centres, 116 children placed in institutions, 21 elderly placed in institutions, one handicapped person and 167 street people.
The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is further impacted by a continuing economic decline with inflation reaching a high of 1,193.5% in May 2006, shortages in foreign exchange, and high unemployment and negative growth, adding to the vulnerability and suffering of the population. Hyperinflation has also resulted in increased operational costs for humanitarian programmes resulting in fewer people receiving the required assistance.
It is believed that the humanitarian situation is likely to continue to deteriorate in 2006, particularly due to the steady decline of the economy, which will have an adverse effect for already vulnerable populations. Among the expected developments are: decreases in the quality of and access to basic services; deepening of urban poverty; continued difficulty for people previously employed in the informal sector in re-establishing their livelihoods; continued emigration, both legally and illegally; and deepening overall vulnerability to natural disasters. Unless appropriate humanitarian action is taken, the use of negative coping mechanisms (such as sexual transactions) could increase, placing vulnerable persons at further risk, deepening poverty and reducing opportunities for recovery. Some humanitarian actors experience limited access to vulnerable populations; in this context, there is a need for concurrence and shared understanding with the Government on the extent of the humanitarian situation in the country and on the policies that would facilitate effective response.
The priorities for the next six months and beyond will be to save lives, enhance positive coping mechanisms and livelihoods, mitigate the impact on vulnerable populations, and ensure a comprehensive and co-ordinated humanitarian response from national and international actors. However, the absence of comprehensive assessments places limitations on humanitarian planning and response. Therefore, a further revision of humanitarian priorities may happen once the results of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) are available. The results of the ZimVAC assessment conducted in rural areas are expected in July 2006, and an urban assessment is planned for July 2006.
Following this mid-year review, the 2006 Consolidated Appeal has a revised total requirement of US$257,704,411. As of 23 June a total of $111,966,162 has been contributed, leaving unmet requirements of $145,738,249.
See Response of the Government of Zimbabwe to the Report by the UN Special Envoy on Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order, August 2006. Table of affected populations is on p. 29.