The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. Results from the 2016 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee show that approximately 4.1 million people (42 per cent of the rural population) will require food assistance during the peak hunger period of January to March 2017 - the highest since 2009. Levels of food insecurity increased significantly in all 60 districts, with some districts recording levels as high as 79 per cent. Nutrition indicators have also deteriorated, with 15 districts with a global acute malnutrition rate of more than 5 per cent, and 2 districts above 8 per cent. This is unprecedented in Zimbabwe, where global acute malnutrition rates have traditionally remained within the ‘acceptable’ range of less than 5 per cent. The country is in the process of reviewing its Humanitarian Response Plan and will have updated figures in September. Since the Humanitarian Response Plan was finalized in April 2016, approximately US$187 million (52 per cent) have been committed against the $360 million sought. Since the onset of the drought, approximately 1.5 million people have been reached in over 35 districts with various types of assistance, including in food and agricultural support, WASH and nutrition.
The humanitarian impact of this current drought extends beyond food insecurity. Increased levels of malnutrition and difficulty in accessing water have been reported; as well as a potential increase in school drop-out rates and absenteeism and increased attrition from HIV treatment. The country is in the process of producing an urban assessment of drought impacts, as the current data includes only rural communities. Resources continue to be a challenge against a need to scale up the humanitarian response.
From January to July 2016, 4,000 children aged 6 to 59 months and 226 children less than 6 months have been admitted for severe acute malnutrition treatment in the 20 most affected districts. Of the 4,000 children treated for SAM, 59 per cent were tested for HIV and of those tested 258 (11 per cent) were HIV positive. A total of 236,377 children aged 6 to 59 months (121,130 girls and 115,247 boys) received vitamin A supplementation during the period January to July 2016. Over 92,000 people have been reached with clean water through the rehabilitation of boreholes and water points. Approximately 173,000 people have been reached with critical WASH related information to prevent child illness, especially diarrhea. Over 22,000 children have been reached with child protection services.