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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
© Ville Palonen / Finnish Red Cross, 2020


In Zimbabwe, recurrent climatic shocks, including floods and drought worsened by El Niño events, a protracted and deteriorating economic environment, and regular disease outbreaks including typhoid, cholera and measles have left an estimated 2.6 million people, including 1.7 million children, in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in 2024.

What are the needs?

With an escalating cholera outbreak that has seen a total of 28,556 cholera cases and 589 deaths across the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe since February 2023, and over 1.3 million people living with HIV, the health system is overwhelmed.

The crude mortality rate remains above 2% which raises 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 by the end of 2024, adding pressure on communities already suffering from unemployment and strained social services.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe also hosts about 24,000 refugees, majority of whom urgently need food, shelter, education and protection.

Map of Zimbabwe

How are we helping?

In 2024, the EU allocated an initial amount of €3.5 million to strengthen the cash response and humanitarian coordination in the country.

In 2023, the EU had allocated a total of €8.5 million in humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe, including for reducing food insecurity among vulnerable urban populations through multi-purpose cash assistance.

The funding also supported disaster preparedness and health promotion to vulnerable populations. €1 million was allocated in December 2023 to support the response to the cholera epidemic.

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: 25/04/2024

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:
€3.5 million in 2024
€8.5 million in 2023
6.8 million in 2022