Situation Report

Cluster Status

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

people targeted
people reached


  • Over 3.7 million people need WASH support under the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), along with 7.3 million people in need under the COVID-19 Addendum. Under the HRP, partners are targeting more than 4 million people across rural (77 per cent) and urban (23 per cent) areas, while under the COVID-19 Addendum, partners are targeting an additional 2.1 million people.

  • Access to safe water in rural areas remains a challenge with only 30 per cent of the 55,709 water sources tracked by the Rural Water Information Management System (RWIMS), providing water from a protected source.

  • According to the Cabinet Water Security report 19, the national storage level is now averaging 35.2 per cent full as of 19 November 2020 and the levels remain significantly below the average 59 per cent expected at this time of the year. However, due to the rainfall received in the country, some of the major dams such as Ngwane (Matabeleland South), Munjanganja (Masvingo), Antelope (Matabeleland South), Mundi Mataga (Midlands), Bhiri-Manyame (Mashonaland West) and Claw (Mashonaland West) have recorded positive inflows which have boosted water availability for socio-economic uses.

  • The reports of dried up boreholes and shallow wells continue in Matabeleland South, Mashonaland East and West, Masvingo, Harare and Matabeleland South Province. At the same time, the number of boreholes that are breaking down are increasing due to wear and tear, communities lacking funds and support to repair them.

  • As of 15 November, 775 cumulative cases of typhoid and 11 deaths were reported, while for diarrhoea the cumulative figures were 294,123 cases and 123 deaths, across all provinces.

  • With 9,623 cases of COVID-19 cases as of 26 November, and with the rainy season just starting, there is an urgent need to ensure communities continue to receive messaging on safe water and the importance of continuing with hand washing, and for all health-care facilities to have adequate WASH services and IPC measures in place.

  • According to RWIMS, 44 per cent of rural health facilities do not have functioning incinerators, while 3.5 per cent have no functioning toilets and 12 per cent have no handwashing facilities.

  • A total of 165 schools across 10 provinces have been prioritized as needing new boreholes by the MoPSE. According to RWIMS, 53 per cent of schools have no existing handwashing facilities and 21 per cent of schools have no safe sanitation facilities.


  • Over the reporting period, HRP partners have reached 79,918 people with access to safe water. A total of 50,854 people have been assisted with hygiene items through the distribution of hygiene kits and over 260,000 people have received hygiene promotion messaging through mobile and community campaigns. Since January 2020, 31 health-care facilities have been supported by WASH HRP Partners.

  • HRP COVID-19 partners have reached in total, 92,070 people with access to safe water and 360,261 people with sanitation and hygiene messaging.

  • Government and partners constructed 1,541 handwashing stations across the country in institutions, marketplaces, and communities, drilled 148 boreholes, rehabilitated 902 boreholes across the 10 provinces over the period in review.


  • There has been a change in funding during the past months for the WASH Cluster’s HRP to 10 per cent ($6.6 million) of the funding being realized and with the COVID-19 response, funding remaining at 13.6 per cent ($983,086). Significant gaps still remain across all areas of the WASH response due to the lack of funding which is not made any better as the COVID-19 cases are increasing and within some of the most water stressed provinces like Bulawayo and with the rainy season predicted to be normal to above-normal the risk for diarrheal diseases also remains high.

  • Although over 2.6 million people have been reached with WASH activities under the HRP and COVID-10 response, this is predominately through mass media hygiene campaigns, and over 3.4 million people in 47 of the 85 targeted districts have not received essential messaging for COVID-19 and other key public health risks.

  • Under the HRP and COVID-19 response, only 30 per cent of the 2.3 million targeted with access to safe drinking water have been reached, leaving 1.6 million people in 16 of the 35 targeted districts with no support at all.

  • For hygiene kits, under the HRP and COVID-19 response, 20 per cent of the targeted 939,650 people have been reached and more than 750,000 of the most vulnerable people require hygiene kits, as just 19 out of 66 targeted districts have received support.

  • Only 10 per cent of the targeted health facilities have been reached in 3 of the 35 targeted districts. A total of 287 targeted health-care facilities therefore still have no identified partner to provide support with institutional hygiene kits including soap, cleaning materials disinfectants and PPE.

  • The dried up water points across the country continues to affect water supply in communities, with the shortages of borehole spares across provinces to support borehole rehabilitation activities in communities increasing water stress.