The United Nations and humanitarian partners revised the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) in July to update the response to the COVID-19 outbreak integrating a multisectoral migrant response and reprioritizing humanitarian cluster responses. The updated COVID-19 Addendum requires US$85 million to respond to the immediate public health crisis and the secondary impacts of the pandemic on vulnerable people, in addition to the $715 million required in the HRP.
The 2020 Zimbabwe Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), launched on 2 April 2020, indicates that 7 million people in urban and rural areas are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance across Zimbabwe, compared to 5.5 million in August 2019. Since the launch of the Revised Humanitarian Appeal in August 2019, circumstances for millions of Zimbabweans have worsened. Drought and crop failure, exacerbated by macro-economic challenges and austerity measures, have directly affected vulnerable households in both rural and urban communities. Inﬂation continues to erode purchasing power and affordability of food and other essential goods is a daily challenge. The delivery of health care, clean water and sanitation, and education has been constrained and millions of people are facing challenges to access vital services.
There are more than 4.3 million people severely food insecure in rural areas in Zimbabwe, according to the latest Intergrated Food Security Phase Classiﬁcation (IPC) analysis, undertaken in February 2020. In addition, 2.2. million people in urban areas, are “cereal food insecure”, according to the most recent Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) analysis with a new ZimVAC assessment conducted between 10 and 21 July 2020. WFP projections indicate that the number of food insecure Zimbabweans is likely to increase by almost 50 per cent by the end of 2020. About 8.6 million people, including 5.3 million people in rural areas and 3.3 million people in urban areas, or 60 per cent of the population is expected be food insecure due to the combined effects of drought, economic recession and the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, locust damage to crops are expected to compound existing food insecurity in communities.
Nutritional needs remain high with over 1.1 million children and women requiring nutrition assistance. Child malnutrition, including acute malnutrition or wasting, is also expected to increase due to steep declines in household incomes, changes in the availability and affordability of nutritious foods, and interruptions to health, nutrition, and social protection services. The impact of COVID-19 is likely to result in at least an additional 15,000 children been wasted, in addition to the 100,000 children expected to be wasted this year.In addition, numbers of pellagra cases are likely to continue to increase as food insecurity in the country deepens and household income for accessing diversiﬁed diets continues to be depleted by the impact of COVID-19 lockdown and economic crisis.
At least 4 million vulnerable Zimbabweans are facing challenges accessing primary health care and drought conditions trigger several health risks. Decreasing availability of safe water, sanitation and hygiene have heightened the risk of communicable disease outbreaks for 3.7 million vulnerable people. Some 1.2 million school-age children are facing challenges accessing education. The drought and economic situation have heightened protection risks, particularly for women and children. Over a year after Cyclone Idai hit Zimbabwe in March 2019, 128,270 people remain in need of humanitarian assistance across the 12 affected districts in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces. There are 21,328 refugees and asylum seekers in Zimbabwe who need international protection and multisectoral life-saving assistance to enable them to live in safety and dignity.
As of 13 September 2020, Zimbabwe reported 6,678 conﬁrmed COVID-19 cases (vs 6,6 78 on 3 September, 4,339 on 5 August; 926 on 9 July; and 287 on 10 June), including 224 deaths (vs 206 on 3 of September, 84 deaths on 5 August; 12 deaths on 9 July and 4 deaths on 10 June) since the onset of the outbreak. Of conﬁrmed cases, 75 per cent are adults within the age range 21-50 years, with 45 per cent being female and 55 per cent male. After a decline in weekly incidence risk from 7.6 in week 31 (26 July-1 Augustus 2020) to 3.7 in week 33 (9-15 Augustus 2020), the weekly incidence risk increased to 4.4. in week 34 (16- 22 Aug 2020). The Incidence rate has continued to decline to 3,18 in week 35 but however increased again to 3.53 in week 36. As of 13 September 2020, the six provinces Harare, Bulawayo, Matabeleland South, Midlands, Mashonaland East and Manicaland account for 89 per cent of all conﬁrmed COVID-19 cases in Zimbabwe. In order to strengthen the National COVID-19 response, the Government Cabinet decided on 18 August that a Technical Steering Committee with experts from all the sectors involved in the response will be constituted, and that the COVID-19 response is to be merged into a single response plan comprising the Command Centre, Oﬃce of the COVID-19 Chief Coordinator and Ministry of Health and Child Care. In addition to previously announced lockdown regulations, the postponement of the planned reopening of schools on 28 July and extra measures on 21 July, the Government Cabinet directed on 18 August that: business hours which were ending at 3 p.m. be revisited to end at 4:30 p.m. and the curfew to start at 8 p.m. instead of 6 p.m.; public transport drivers have to undergo regular COVID-19 PCR tests; and public transport buses will be allowed a dedicated lane at roadblocks to expedite their passage. A total of 18,459 migrants returned to Zimbabwe from neighbouring countries as of 13 September, with the large majority of returnees arriving through the three points of entry of Beitbridge border post, Plumtree and Harare International airport. The number continues to increase daily, with a projection of 20,000 new arrivals in the next coming months with inclusion of those from northern countries, such as Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Further, 764 returnees were still quarantined in government operated centres on 13 September, with most returnees quarantined in the four provinces of Harare, Matabeleland South, Manicaland and Masvingo.
In addition to the commitments to the HRP recorded above through the Financial Tracking System (FTS), a number of pledges are in the process of being ﬁnalized, including $18 million from the United States, $14 million from the European Commission, $7.2 from the United Kingdom, and $200,000 from Canada. In addition, carryover funding of agencies from 2019 will be reﬂected in FTS.