Zimbabwe at a glance

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The crisis and the response

  • From August 2008 to July 2009, over 4,200 Zimbabweans died in one of the worst recorded cholera outbreaks in Africa.
  • The high death toll – far beyond the worst case UN scenario – was the result of collapsed water and sanitation infrastructure and state health services rendered dysfunctional by political tension and hyperinflation.
  • Zimbabwe continues to face widespread food insecurity. Many lack access to safe water and sanitation.
  • The government’s refusal to declare an emergency and restrictions on INGOs delayed international aid and allowed the cholera outbreak to proliferate.
  • The cholera crisis caught the UN unprepared. Its capacity to lead – weakened by the resentment of the Mugabe regime towards the west and high turnover of OCHA staff – was further reduced by the apparent unwillingness of the HC to confront the government.

Donor performance

  • The OECD/DAC freeze on direct government-togovernment links means most funding goes through the CAP framework.
  • It is difficult to quantify overall humanitarian funding: FTS data is incomplete.
  • There was relatively good coordination among traditional donors: most are praised for responsiveness and flexibility.
  • Donors seem fatigued: coverage of the 2010 CAP was 44 percent in October 2010.

Key challenges and areas for improvement

  • Contingency planning must be realistic, factoring in the likelihood and potential consequences of further political crisis, state-directed violence and displacement.
  • The widespread local perception that aid is untransparent needs to be countered.
  • Independent evaluations should be encouraged, beneficiaries should be involved in their design and the results publicised.
  • Substantial funding is needed for both prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.
  • Funding systems should be supported by robust information management systems and a facilitated process to help members agree on clear priorities, roles and responsibilities and accountability.

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Zimbabwe at a glance

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