Climatic shocks and a deteriorating economic environment have left almost 4.7 million people in Zimbabwe requiring humanitarian assistance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to reduced income and food sources, and the local population’s inability to access essential commodities.
What are the needs?
The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe remains critical. The country suffers from a protracted and deteriorating economic situation. This is compounded by climatic shocks, including drought and tropical storms/cyclones.
During the rainy seasons in 2021 and this year, Zimbabwe saw heavy rains, hailstorms, flash floods and lightning in various parts of the country. In January 2022, tropical storm Ana hit southern Africa, causing flash floods in eastern Zimbabwe and damaging 812 households and 51 schools.
Due to climatic shocks, over 41,000 people remain internally displaced in camps and host communities. They live under severe health and protection risks, including mistreatment, gender-based violence, early/child marriage, exploitation, and social exclusion.
With an escalating malaria outbreak and over 1.3 million people living with HIV, COVID-19 has put additional pressure on an already strained health system. The pandemic has adversely impacted access to basic nutrition, protection services and education.
Nearly 1/3 of the urban (1.63 million people) and rural (2.33 million people) populations are currently food insecure. Food insecurity in rural households is expected to increase further to approximately 3.8 million people until March 2023.
he decreasing availability of safe water, sanitation and hygiene has heightened the risk of infectious disease outbreaks, notably in urban areas.
Moreover, the impact of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine on the price, availability and access to food, fuel, fertilizers, and other commodities is projected to further exacerbate food insecurity and the overall humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe in the coming months.
At least 500,000 Zimbabwean migrants have returned home since COVID-19 started. They require income opportunities to support reintegration into their communities. Meanwhile, tightened immigration laws and xenophobic attacks in South Africa may force up to 250,000 Zimbabweans currently living in South Africa to return.
Zimbabwe has reported a steady influx of refugees from across Africa. They most notably come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique, despite the closure of borders for the past year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The country hosts over 22,000 refugees, of which at least 15,000 require urgent food, shelter, education and protection assistance.
How are we helping?
In 2022, the EU allocated €6.8 million in humanitarian assistance. This funding includes €4 million to address food insecurity of the most vulnerable urban population, with multi-purpose cash assistance.
In the light of Zimbabwe’s exposure to recurrent climate-induced disasters, the EU is also strengthening local capacity for improved and efficient preparedness and early response for sudden-onset disasters in hazard-prone areas.
We will focus on capacity building of local and regional stakeholders as well as mainstreaming of logistic preparedness and capacity to manage prepositioning of emergency stocks.
EU humanitarian assistance also aims to support vulnerable migrant returnees, strengthen preparedness for displacement, and improve the management of mixed migration flows. The EU will continue funding information tools that have proven critical to better understand and identify the underlying, complex and interrelated causes of displacement and inform humanitarian response.
In addition, the European Commission is providing €100 million in humanitarian assistance to support the rollout of vaccination campaigns in countries in Africa with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems.
At least €8.9 million out of this funding will be supporting vaccination campaigns for the most vulnerable in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region. Zimbabwe received €2.05 million.
Partners have also carried out COVID-19 prevention and control activities, information dissemination campaigns, distribution of personal protective equipment, promotion of access to water and hygiene, and organised hygiene awareness sessions for households.
EU humanitarian and development assistance continue to work together to strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable communities. The aim is to mitigate the impact of food insecurity.
Last updated: 21/10/2022
Picture: © Ville Palonen / Finnish Red Cross, 2020
Facts & figures
4.7 million people need humanitarian assistance.
1.63 million people in urban areas and 2.33 million people population are currently food insecure.
Over 41,000 people remain displaced in camps and host communities (IOM).
From March 2020 until December 2021, at least 500,000 people returned to Zimbabwe from neighbouring countries.
Zimbabwe hosts over 22,000 refugees.
EU humanitarian funding:
€6.8 million in 2022.
€12.25 million in 2021