The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe continues to be a grave cause for concern. This year’s harvest has been the worst in post-colonial history. The World Food Programme estimates that 5.1 million people may need food aid in the coming year. The severe HIV/AIDS crisis, increasing poverty and destitution, the chaos caused by hyperinflation, and the breakdown of water and sanitation services, are all adding to the risk factors for a major humanitarian emergency.
On 4 June the Government of Zimbabwe suspended the field activities of all NGO’s and Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs), with severe implications for the delivery of humanitarian relief. The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that around 1.5 million people are being immediately affected. UNICEF say this number includes half a million children.
The World Food Programme’s main feeding programme is due to scale up from August. The absence of large scale food aid programmes in the second half of the year could lead to high levels of malnutrition and increased mortality.