According to the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan, a total of 6 million people are in urgent need of food assistance across Zimbabwe both in rural and urban areas. In addition, 1.5 million small holder farmers are in need of season- sensitive emergency crop and livestock input assistance.
The increased rural and urban caseload due to COVID-19 of 200,000 is bringing the total target to 4.6 million people, according to the HRP COVID-19 Addendum. A further revision of rural food assistance needs will be undertaken when data from the forthcoming assessments are available.
COVID-19 containment measures, in particular lockdowns, have severe socio-economic consequences. It is expected that the drastic loss of livelihoods will trigger a sharp increase in food insecurity across the country. WFP internal analysis forecasts that food insecure people will rise to 3.3 million from 2.2 million in urban areas, and to 5.3 million from 3.7 million in rural areas from October to December 2020.
According to the WFP Weekly Market Monitoring Report for the period from 24 to 29 August 2020, maize grain availability remained critically low and below typical conditions estimated available in 4 per cent of the markets monitored. Unrefined maize meal was available in 51 per cent of the markets. Meanwhile, refined maize meal was available in at least 95 per cent of the markets, selling at an average price of ZWL47.70/kg (10 per cent higher than unrefined maize meal). However, supply of unrefined maize meal is expected to improve in the coming weeks as commercial imports by government and the private sector start arriving in the country.
Initially infesting two sites in the Chiredzi District, swarms and hoppers have moved into Manicaland Province. Locust damage to crops are expected to compound existing food insecurity in communities already affected by floods, drought and the impacts of COVID-19.
In August, the Food Security Cluster partners reported reaching over 650,000 people with either in-kind food distribution, cash or vouchers modality in both rural and urban areas.
In July, 8 FSL Cluster partners added soap into their FSL activities, reaching 205,000 beneficiaries. Further, 12 partners now display COVID-19 IEC materials during their FSL interventions, reaching 439,000 beneficiaries. 9 partners have also included health and referral services available for 381,000 beneficiaries at intervention sites to adapt their activities to COVID-19.
With the extensive spread of COVID-19 cases, WFP has been working to leverage and expand remote, real-time continuous food security monitoring systems. As such, WFP is starting the Mobile Vulnerability Analysis & Mapping (mVAM) during the week of 2 September in Zimbabwe. Through using mobile technology to remotely monitor household food security and nutrition, and food market-related trends in real-time, mVAM will provide high-frequency, gender-disaggregated and operationally relevant data that supports humanitarian decision-making.
Zimbabwe’s major Food Security Assessment, ZimVAC, data collection has been finalized and the final report is expected by mid-September.
According to FTS, only $100 million of the $490.5 million (22.6 per cent) total requested budget for the HRP 2020 was committed as of 02 September 2020, with 92 per cent of the HRP 2020 COVID-19 Addendum budget contributed which significantly helps to adapt the FSL activities to COVID-19.