Mid-Year Review of the Consolidated Appeal for Zimbabwe 2009
Consolidated Appeal in November 2008. The country-wide cholera outbreak and spike in food insecurity during the lean season aggravated an already difficult socio-economic environment of hyper-inflation and collapsed basic social services. The humanitarian response provided under the CAP 2009 so far has contributed to saving lives by containing the cholera outbreak, providing food and agricultural assistance to vulnerable populations, and supporting vital social services including health, water and education at a critical time, despite enormous operational difficulties. In spite of the positive impact of the humanitarian response and initiatives by the Inclusive Government, the international community remains relatively cautious. This CAP revision is undertaken to reflect the significant changes in context and needs since early 2009, including a significant increase in agriculture and education followed by water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and health activities, prioritising projects with high emergency impact, and “humanitarian plus’ activities which focus on population stabilisation and emergency recovery and risk reduction. Essentially, the revision reflects a combination of new opportunities and deepening needs.
Significant changes in the country’s political and socio-economic landscape have taken place this year and have given rise to cautious optimism. The formation of the Inclusive Government comprising the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) and the two Movements for Democratic Change formations in February 2009, followed by the launch of the Short-Term Emergency and Recovery Programme (STERP), have paved the way for the country’s rehabilitation. The STERP requires a total of US$8.4 billion until end 2009. However, with only $400 million pledged in credit lines by African governments as of April 2009, the STERP remains under-funded, threatening the country’s efforts at recovery. Policy developments that support economic recovery and stability have served to curtail hyperinflation, stabilize the economy, increase availability of inputs, and stem the drain of skilled professionals. These include the official introduction of multiple currencies and payment of $100 monthly allowances for civil servants.
The country’s humanitarian needs remain staggering. Six million people have limited or no access to safe water and sanitation in rural and urban areas; 600,000 families will require key agricultural inputs for the 2009/10 planting season immediately, creating the potential for improved food security, and a consequent reduction in the planned 5.1 million people required to receive food assistance during the next lean season; 1.3 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, including 133,000 children under the age of 14. There are 1.5 million orphaned and vulnerable children, including over 100,000 child-headed households. Due to natural disasters, and to the political and economic situation, there is an imprecise number of persons who remain internally displaced, and an estimated 40,000 returnees also in need of assistance. There is concern that, unless conditions change, outbreaks of water-borne diseases at the onset of the next rainy season could lead to new cholera cases and higher humanitarian needs. These humanitarian needs triggered by the current crisis occur in a context of deep and widespread vulnerability.
While successive Consolidated Appeals have underlined the urgent need for assistance in water and sanitation, health, education, and protection, most sectors continued to suffer from lack of support. The progressive decline and dilapidation of these sectors is one of the main reasons the cholera outbreak spread uncontrollably and claimed over 4,200 lives. It is from there that the concept of ‘humanitarian plus’ activities emerges in this revision, including activities that are transitional in nature, but which in the context of Zimbabwe are considered time-critical and life-saving. These include projects which support population stabilisation and emergency recovery and risk reduction, such as the repair to basic infrastructure and payment of incentives to health workers and teachers. The revised
In the face of rising needs reflected in the increased requirements to scale up the response to the country’s humanitarian crisis, the donor response to the CAP 2009 has been below average with
$246 million or 34% of revised requirements funded as of 26 May 2009. In view of the changing context, a total of $718 million is required for the revised CAP. Considering the changes in the country’s context and needs, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) has adapted the objectives to the following:
- Save and prevent loss of lives by assisting vulnerable groups, including displaced and other mobile populations;
- Support Government efforts towards stabilisation of the population in acute distress and of the social services capacity to deliver quality essential services;
- Support the restoration of livelihoods, prevent the depletion of productive household assets, and strengthen the institutional capacity at the local level of coordinating and implementing essential recovery activities incorporating disaster risk-reduction frameworks.
This is a critical moment to support humanitarian efforts in Zimbabwe. The magnitude of the economic decline and erosion of sources of livelihood is such that it is unlikely the humanitarian needs in the country will lessen in the short term. Humanitarian partners – including the Government of Zimbabwe, regional partners and the humanitarian and development communities – must work more closely than ever to ensure that needs are met through the implementation of the programmes contained in the current revision.