- International aid agencies and the government of Zimbabwe have yesterday appealed for $378 million to support humanitarian and early recovery efforts in the Southern African country over the next year, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced.
Zimbabwe has been plagued by widespread humanitarian suffering in recent years, driven in part by long-running political strife.
Despite some improvement in Zimbabwe’s humanitarian situation – largely attributable to political changes that positively influenced socio-economic conditions and greater cooperation between the government of Zimbabwe, aid partners and donors – it remains fragile.
OCHA noted that the erosion of basic services has left some six million people without access to safe water and sanitation, and the prolonged economic downturn has put their livelihoods at risk.
More than 343,000 adults and 35,000 children under the age of 15 urgently need antiretroviral (ARV) treatment out of 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS, and a third of children under the age of five are chronically malnourished, according to OCHA.
In addition, OCHA highlighted the country’s substantial cereal shortage, predicting that almost 2 million people will need food assistance at the peak of the 2010 hunger season between January and March, on top of a cholera outbreak which has spread to half of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces since September.
“This is a critical moment for the UN and partners to support both humanitarian and recovery activities in Zimbabwe,” said Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Catherine Bragg, speaking in Harare after launching the appeal with senior officials from the Government.
“We hope donors will continue to generously support the people of Zimbabwe,” added Ms. Bragg, who is also the UN’s Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator.
The launch was part of Ms. Bragg’s three-day mission to Zimbabwe to meet with government officials, aid workers and donors to review the overall humanitarian situation and map out UN coordinated early recovery efforts for 2010.
OCHA noted that the 2009 Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) for Zimbabwe for $719 million only received 64 per cent of the requested funding, and the 2010 appeal remains aligned to Government strategic plans for economic recovery.
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