Blessings Chidakwa Herald Correspondent
Zimbabwe has revised upwards the budget for humanitarian support to US$464 million, amid indications that about 5,5 million people are food insecure.
This emerged during a briefing convened by the United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) attended by member states at the UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday last week.
The briefing was meant to appraise member states of the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe following a severe drought that rendered more than a third of rural households food insecure, as well as the suffering caused by Cyclone Idai that hit some parts of the country in March.
A report compiled after the briefing shows that Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo said the initial estimate of US$331,5 million was no longer adequate.
A fortnight ago, President Mnangagwa declared the 2018/2019 El Nino-induced drought a State of Disaster, paving way for the launch of the Revised Zimbabwe Humanitarian Appeal by the Government and the UN.
Reads the report in part: “Recognising the gravity of the situation, Minister Moyo informed the meeting that the Government of Zimbabwe declared a state of disaster on 6 August 2019.
“He added that on the same day, the Revised Zimbabwe Humanitarian Appeal amounting to US$331,5 million, which is targeting the multi-sectoral humanitarian needs of 3,7 million people, out of the 5,1 million people, who had been identified as in need of humanitarian assistance, was launched in Harare.
“The Revised Zimbabwe Humanitarian Appeal covers the period July 2019 to April 2020 that is up to the end of the next lean season.
“The overall requirements for the period February 2019 to April 2020 now stands at US$464 million.”
Minister Moyo told the briefing that Zimbabwe was facing a multitude of humanitarian challenges due climate factors, such as drought and tropical cyclones, and economic shocks because of the painful, but necessary reform process being implemented by authorities.
He highlighted that the 2019 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) consisting of Government, UN, development partners and NGOs, had done a Rural Livelihoods Assessment, which estimated that 5,5 million people in the rural areas were food insecure.
“Of this population, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis pointed out that over three million people or 38 percent of the rural population were projected to be in need of urgent humanitarian support between the period October to December 2019,” reads the report.
The report also notes that up to 2,2 million in urban communities were also food insecure.
Minister Moyo gave an update regarding ongoing efforts to support victims of Cyclone Idai.
He said many people still required assistance, particularly the internally displaced persons in temporary sites, those living with host families and those who lost everything.
UN Resident Coordinator to Zimbabwe Mr Bishow Parajuli said while efforts were being undertaken under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) to address the complex challenges, there was a moral obligation and an urgency for the international community to support those in dire need.
He said since the launch of the revised appeal on August 6, 2019, the US had committed US$45 million, the European Union (US$11 million), and the United Kingdom (nearly US$60 million).
China announced bilateral contribution for Cyclone Idai recovery amounting to US$58 million, and support to drill 500 boreholes.
The revised appeal was developed in close coordination with the Cabinet Committee on Environment, Disaster Prevention and Management chaired by Minister Moyo.