Skip to main content


Highlights Last Updated: 31 Dec 2020

  • In 2020, gender-based violence cases reported through the National GBV Hotline increased by a 175 per cent compared to 2019.
  • About 3.4 million people in rural areas are projected to face crisis or emergency food insecurity at the peak of the lean season (January to March 2021).
  • An estimated 74,267 children under age 5 are affected by global acute malnutrition, including at least 38,425 of them with severe acute malnutrition.
  • Access and utilization of essential health services declined in April-October 2020 compared to same period in 2019.
  • Humanitarian partners reached more than 4.2 million people with assistance and protection in 2020.
Zimbabwe: IOM
People wait in a physically distanced queue before signing in at a WFP food distribution in Bikita District, Masvingo Province. Photo: WFP


Country profile

Across Zimbabwe, 7 million people in urban and rural areas are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, compared to 5.5 million in August 2019. Since the launch of the Revised Humanitarian Appeal in August 2019, circumstances for millions of Zimbabweans have worsened. Drought and crop failure,  exacerbated by macro-economic challenges  and austerity measures, have directly affected vulnerable households in both rural and urban communities. Inflation continues to erode purchasing power and affordability of food and other essential goods is a daily challenge. The delivery of healthcare, clean water and sanitation, and education has been constrained and millions of people are facing challenges to access vital services.

There are more than 4.3 million people severely food insecure in rural areas in Zimbabwe, according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, undertaken in February 2020. In addition, 2.2 million people in urban areas, are “cereal food insecure,” according to the most recent Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) analysis. Erratic and late 2019/2020 rains forebode the  possibility of  a second poor harvest. Nutritional  needs  remain high with over 1.1 million children and women requiring nutrition assistance. At least 4 million vulnerable Zimbabweans are facing challenges accessing primary healthcare and drought conditions trigger several health risks. Decreasing availability of safe water, sanitation and hygiene have heightened the risk of communicable disease outbreaks for 3.7 million vulnerable people. Some 1.2 million school-age children are facing challenges accessing education. The drought and economic situation have heighted protection risks, particularly for women and children.

A year after Cyclone Idai hit Zimbabwe, 128,270 people remain in need of humanitarian assistance across the 12 affected districts in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces. There are 21,328 refugees and asylum seekers in Zimbabwe who need international protection and multisectoral life-saving assistance to enable them to live in safety and dignity.

Last update: March 2020