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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.
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.