Many of the humanitarian challenges facing Zimbabwe are common to countries in Southern Africa, particularly the "triple threat" of Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus/Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), food insecurity and declining capacity for basic social service provision, in addition to a large number of orphans and vulnerable children. The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is further impacted by economic decline, and formal and informal migration of skilled and unskilled labour, which could be countered by appropriate Government policies. In the 2005-2006 season, at least three million people will require food assistance, as the country has harvested an estimated 600,000 Metric Tonnes (MTs) of maize, compared to its requirement of 1.8 million MTs. While the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among adults is reported to have dropped to 21.3% in 2005, the disease continues to cause the death of 3,000 Zimbabweans per week. HIV/AIDS has also fuelled a rapid growth in the number of orphans and vulnerable children, which has now reached over 1.3 million. The economic situation, with high inflation rates, shortages in foreign exchange, high unemployment and negative growth, adds to the vulnerability and suffering of the population.
In 2005, the humanitarian situation was further compounded by the Government's Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order, which targeted what the Government considered to be illegal housing structures and informal businesses. The operation led to rapid growth in the number of displaced and homeless people, combined with loss of livelihoods for those that previously worked in the informal sector. Based on Government estimates that 133,000 households were evicted during the Operation, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe estimate that some 650,000-700,000 people were directly affected through the loss of shelter and/or livelihoods.
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) members participating in the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) for Zimbabwe project that the humanitarian situation is likely to continue to deteriorate in 2006, particularly due to the steady decline of the economy, which will have an adverse effect for already vulnerable populations. Among the expected developments in 2006 are decreases in the quality and access to basic services; deepening of urban poverty; continued difficulty of people previously employed in the informal sector in re-establishing their livelihoods; continued emigration, both legally and illegally; new farm evictions; and deepening overall vulnerability to natural disasters. In this scenario, participants in the CAP expect that, unless appropriate humanitarian action is taken, the use of negative coping mechanisms will increase, placing vulnerable persons at further risk, deepening poverty and minimising opportunities for long term recovery.
The priority humanitarian actions for 2006 will be to save lives, enhance positive coping mechanisms, mitigate the impact on vulnerable populations, and ensure a comprehensive and co-ordinated humanitarian response. The objectives of this Appeal are to: (i) reduce morbidity and mortality rates; (ii) increase access and quality of basic social services; (iii) prevent the further deterioration of livelihoods and enhance community coping mechanisms; (iv) provide protection for the most vulnerable; and (v) contribute to the prevention, mitigation and provision of care and treatment for HIV/AIDS.
The 2006 Consolidated Appeal aims to: provide food assistance to an estimated 3 million people; provide agricultural and livelihoods support to 1.4 million households; improve access and quality of education services for 93,000 children; provide temporary shelter to 23,000 displaced and homeless households; immunise 5.2 million children against preventable communicable diseases and ensure nutrition and disease surveillance; provide home-based care for 55,000 persons living with HIV/AIDS; provide basic health care, including essential drugs and anti-retroviral drugs to 3.6 million people; assist 600,000 women and children in mother and child health care programmes; target 1.6 million community members in health monitoring and surveillance; reach 4.5 million people with messages to promote behavioural change and prevent HIV; sensitise 1.5 million people on the prevention of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV); provide multi-sectoral assistance to 300,000 mobile and vulnerable populations; provide assistance to 96,000 returning deportees; ensure assistance and psychosocial support to over 500,000 orphans and vulnerable children; and to deliver improved water and sanitation services for 2.4 million people. To this end, a total of 46 appealing agencies, including UN organisations, national and international Non-Governmental Organisations, community and faith based organisations, are requesting a total of US$ 276,503,174 to implement programmes and projects as part of the 2006 CAP.