Climatic shocks and a deteriorating economic environment have left almost 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 a combination of climatic shocks, including drought and tropical storms/cyclones and the impact of COVID-19.
The situation has led to increasing humanitarian needs, profoundly affecting vulnerable households across the country. In 2021, some 3.4 million people in rural areas and 2.4 million people in urban areas faced high levels of acute food insecurity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted access to basic nutrition, health, HIV, protection, and education.
The informal sector, which is the main source of income for the majority of the urban poor, has also been adversely affected by COVID-19 lockdown thus further compromising the capacity of the urban poor to meet their basic needs. At least 2.3 million people need protection services, including women, men, girls and boys in the most food-insecure districts. Decreasing availability of safe water, sanitation and hygiene have heightened the risk of infectious disease outbreaks.
Due to climatic shocks, over 41,000 people remain internally displaced in camps and host communities under severe health and protection risks – including mistreatment, gender-based violence, early/child marriage, exploitation, and social exclusion.
Zimbabwe’s 2021/2022 rainy season has seen 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.
With an escalating malaria outbreak and over 1.3 million people living with HIV, COVID-19 poses another big health risk to the population. Access to essential health services has decreased due to lack of health workers, health workers in isolation/quarantine, lack of personal protective equipment, and user fees in health facilities.
Zimbabwe has reported a steady influx of refugees from across Africa – most notably from the DRC and Mozambique, despite the closure of borders for the past year due to COVID-19. The country is hosting over 21,000 refugees, of which 15,000 require urgent food, shelter, education and protection assistance.
How are we helping?
Zimbabwe is exposed to recurrent climate-induced disasters.
In 2022, the EU will mainly strengthen 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.
EU partners in Zimbabwe have adapted their projects to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to deliver much-needed aid. They have also carried out coronavirus prevention and control activities, information dissemination campaigns, distribution of personal protective equipment, promotion of access to water and hygiene, and organising hygiene awareness sessions for households.
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 receives €2.05 million of this funding.
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: 20/05/2022
Picture: © Ville Palonen / Finnish Red Cross, 2020
Facts & figures
6.8 million people need humanitarian assistance
An estimated 3.4 million people in rural areas and 2.4 million people in urban areas need of urgent food assistance
Over 41,000 people remain displaced in camps and host communities (IOM)
From March 2020 until November 2021, almost 381,000 people returned to Zimbabwe from neighbouring countries
Zimbabwe hosts over 21,000 refugees
EU humanitarian funding:
€38 million in 2022 for the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region, including
€2 million for disaster preparedness in Zimbabwe.
€12.25 million in 2021