In Zimbabwe, an estimated 3 million people, including 2 million children, urgently require humanitarian assistance in 2023. This is due to (i) climatic shocks (floods and drought worsened by El Niño events), (ii) a protracted and deteriorating economic environment, and (iii) regular disease outbreaks including typhoid, cholera and measles.
What are the needs?
An escalating cholera outbreak has seen nearly 10,000 infections and over 200 deaths since February 2023. In addition, over 1.3 million people living with HIV. Consequently, the country’s health system is overwhelmed.
The crude mortality rate remains above 2%, raising concerns about case management and quality of care. The cholera outbreak is driven by poor water and sanitation infrastructure, sewer bursts, erratic water supply, a shortage of water treatment chemicals and unsafe hygiene practices.
The situation is worsened by rapid urban population growth, with large numbers of people settling in areas lacking water and proper sewage.
High inflation, rising food prices and fluctuating exchange rates have put additional strains on already impoverished households. Food and commodity prices are expected to increase.
Nearly 4.25 million people (26% of the population) are projected to face food insecurity in 2023-2024. As a result, vulnerable households are increasingly resorting to desperate coping mechanisms, such as skipping meals, transactional sex, and early/child marriage.
Meanwhile, tightened immigration laws and xenophobic attacks in South Africa may force up to 250,000 Zimbabweans to return to Zimbabwe in 2024. This adds more pressure on communities already suffering from unemployment and strained social services.
Zimbabwe also hosts about 24,000 refugees, a majority of whom urgently needing food, shelter, education, and protection.
How are we helping?
In 2023, the EU allocated €8.4 million in humanitarian assistance. This includes €4 million to reduce food insecurity among vulnerable urban populations through multi-purpose cash assistance. 1 million was allocated in November 2023 to support the response to the cholera epidemic.
The funding also supports disaster preparedness and health promotion to vulnerable populations.
The EU reinforces local authorities’ capacity to respond to epidemics, support and protect vulnerable migrant returnees, enhance preparedness for displacement, and improve the management of mixed migration flows.
Last updated: 01/12/2023
Facts & figures
1.5 million people in urban areas and 2.7 million people population are estimated to be acutely food insecure.
Zimbabwe hosts about 24,000 refugees
EU humanitarian funding:
€8.4million in 2023
€6.8 million in 2022