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UNICEF Zimbabwe Humanitarian Situation Report: 1 January - 30 June 2021

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Highlights

  • 4,516 children (2,556 girls and 1,960 boys), constituting 20% of the target were admitted to community-based programmes for the treatment of severe wasting from January to May 2021.

  • 1,036,049 children (781,308 females; 254,741 males) reached with primary health care services against an annual target of 2.7 million.

  • 518,613 people (273,705 females; 240,675 males; 4,233 people living with disabilities [PLWDs]) out of an annual target of 610,057 were reached with safe water.

  • A total of 1,183,791 learners against a target of 4,6 million were reached with Primary and Secondary Radio lessons, and television lessons supported by UNICEF.

  • 96,951 children and caregivers (53,311 females, 43,640 males, including 9,820 children with disabilities) out of a target of 90,000 reached with critical child protection services

Situation Overvew & Humanitarian Needs

Zimbabwe is projected to have a maize production surplus of 828 263 metric tons in 2021, according to the second round of Crop and Livestock Assessment 2020/ 2021 Season conducted in April 2021. This is projected to significantly improve the food security situation across the country. However, according to the 2021 Rural Livelihoods Assessment Report, consumption patterns have been deteriorating over the years as households with poor consumption patterns have increased from 31% in 2020 to 43% in 2021 whilst those with acceptable consumption patterns have decreased from 31% to 29%. (ZIMVAC, 2021). The report also notes that only 6% of children aged 6 - 23 months received the Minimum Acceptable Diet, although this was an increase from 2.1% recorded in 2020. In the second half of 2021, it will be important to continue to monitor for pockets of food insecurity in areas in which the crop was adversely affected by excessive rains. This includes in urban areas which continue to lack access to food and other basic needs due to reduced household incomes because of the economic crisis which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although year-on-year inflation has continued on a downward trend, declining from 162% in May to 107% in June 2021, the month-on-month inflation has increased by 1.34 percentage points from 2.54% in May 2021 to 3.88%. This increase is partially driven by electricity and fuel price increases and the impact of the Statutory Instrument (SI) 127 which came into effect on 27th May 2021 and required businesses to use the official foreign exchange rates and stop quoting prices in US dollars after benefitting from the foreign currency auction.

As of 30 June 2021, Zimbabwe had recorded 49,864 COVID-19 cases and 1,789 deaths1 and is in level 4 lockdown. The country had 8,954 active cases and a national recovery rate of 78% as at 30 June 2021. Harare had the highest incidence per capita at 682 cases per 100,000 followed by Bulawayo with 568 cases per 100,000 and Matabeleland South at 475 cases per 100,000. In the second quarter of 2021, Mashonaland West Province experienced the highest increase in incidence per capita with 393 cases per 100,000 as at 30 June. By 19 May, a cumulative total of 823 cases were reported in 37 out of the 9,625 schools. These included 763 learners (271 boys and 492 girls) and 60 teachers (10 males and 50 females). All the provinces of Zimbabwe have experienced a resurgence of the COVID-19 third wave outbreak requiring focused attention in the hotspots.

Zimbabwe launched the national COVID-19 vaccination programme on 18 February 2021 and by 30th June, a total of 777,161 first doses and 555,277 second doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered. The initial Adult Perception Survey and key informant interviews with religious and community leaders conducted in February 2021 pointed to widespread mistrust and low vaccine confidence and low intention to vaccinate across all demographic. In June, UNICEF conducted two follow up surveys which showed positive interest among the population to vaccinate if the vaccine is available demonstrating the impact of extensive social and behaviour change campaigns supported by UNICEF and partners. Indeed, these campaigns had begun to show impact as demonstrated by a steady increase in demand for COVID-19 vaccines, and in some cases, the demand outstripping supply. COVID-19 has adversely impacted access to basic services such as nutrition, health, HIV, protection, and Education. The informal sector, which is the main source of livelihood for the majority of the urban poor has also been adversely affected by COVID-19 lockdown thus further compromising the capacity of the urban poor to meet their basic needs.