THE United Nations has appealed to the international community to provide Zimbabwe with US$124 million for humanitarian aid.
sans-serif”>In a revised consolidated appeal for the 2003/2004 period, the UN said the amount was required by Zimbabwe “to prevent the further breakdown in essential health and education services and to ensure that the country’s growing number of orphaned and vulnerable children are not forgotten”.
The appeal will help the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (Unicef) to respond urgently to the plight of vulnerable children in Zimbabwe, the UN said in a statement. The appeal is also expected to help meet the “urgent needs of the population”.
“The appeal, known as the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP), stresses that five years of deterioration in the social and economic sector have led to a serious humanitarian crisis,” said the UN statement. “The appeal is being extended from 2003 to December 2004.”
The UN said with high levels of unemployment, more than five million people are prone to food insecurity in Zimbabwe.
It said HIV/Aids continue to have a devastating impact on the country and larger segments of the population are unable to afford or access health services as well as education, increasing their risk of disease, malnutrition, and destitution.
“We know that the brunt of this humanitarian crisis is being hardest felt by the country’s children, but especially the growing population of orphans, who are most likely to end up hungry, out of school and at risk of abuse,” said Unicef representative Festo Kavishe.
“If we do not respond, the price will be paid by these children, who deprived of an education, good health and emotional support, will be ill-equipped to cope in a world as adults,” he said.
Under the appeal, Unicef and its partners are calling for immediate assistance in the following areas: emergency nutrition, health, water and sanitation, education, child protection and emergency HIV/Aids mitigation.