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Zimbabwe, a land-locked country in Southern Africa, is at high-risk of impacts from the global climate crisis, which is further straining aged infrastructure. Drought is one of the most frequently occurring natural disasters in Zimbabwe, with only 37 per cent of the country receiving rainfall at the levels adequate for agriculture.

Extreme poverty—using the national poverty line of purchasing power parity (PPP) US$1.8 per day— was projected to affect 50 per cent of the population (8 million people) in 2020, up from 42 per cent (6.6 million people) in 2019, according to the World Bank, and families have exhausted their resilience and coping strategies in the face of increasing shocks. Zimbabwe has experienced a prolonged economic recession which has been compounded by COVID-19.

Zimbabwe’s humanitarian context can be summed up as fragile and requires continued attention. The environment has been characterised by several shocks that include the COVID-19 pandemic, effects of drought and crop failure, which precipitated the prevailing macro-economic shocks (high inflation and poverty). These shocks create poverty traps and increase the prevalence of food insecurity, malnutrition and consumption of unsafe food by reducing real income and forcing the poor to sell their valuable assets, decrease their food consumption, reduce their dietary diversity and increase exposure to food-borne diseases. The impact is strongly felt in low-income and food-deficit households that spend a large share of their income on food. Women, who constitute 65 per cent of the informal sector, are disproportionately affected by economic hardship.

[Last update: February 2021]