Government swallows pride, appeals for aid

Augustine Mukaro


IN a move that portrays Zanu PF’s land reform as a dismal failure, government has launched a massive US$277 million appeal for humanitarian assistance despite the country receiving above-average rainfall this season.

Of this sum, foo

d accounts for the largest single item worth US$111 million.

An appeal document, drafted by the United Nations and its implementing partners in conjunction with government, shows that state policies have compounded the humanitarian crisis resulting in the country seeking assistance in virtually all sectors.

Food, agriculture and shelter account for more than 65% of the needs.

The appeal confirms that the country faces yet another maize deficit of more than 1,3 million tonnes this year and predicts a worsening situation.

“In the 2005/6 season at least three million people will require food assistance, as the country harvests an estimated 600 000 tonnes of maize compared to its requirement of 1,8 million tonnes,” the appeal says.
 
“The humanitarian situation is likely to continue to deteriorate in 2006, particularly due to the steady decline of the economy, which will have an adverse effect for already vulnerable populations.”

The appeal says: “Among the expected developments in 2006 are decreases in the quality and access to basic services, deepening of urban poverty, continued difficulty of people previously employed in the informal sector to re-establish their livelihoods, continued emigration, new farm evictions and deepening overall vulnerability to natural disasters.”

The appeal says the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is further impacted by economic decline, formal and informal migration of skilled and unskilled labour which could be countered by appropriate government policies.

“In 2005, the humanitarian situation was further compounded by the government’s Operation Murambatsvina, which targeted what government considered to be illegal housing structures and informal businesses,” the appeal said.

“The operation led to rapid growth in the number of displaced and homeless people, combined with loss of livelihoods for those that previously worked in the informal sector.”

The appeal aims to provide food assistance to an estimated three million people, provide agricultural and livelihood support to 1,4 million households, improve access and quality of education services for 93 000 children and other social services and prevent further deterioration of livelihoods and enhance community-coping mechanisms as well as provide protection for the most vulnerable.

Government last launched a multi-sectoral appeal in 2004 seeking resources to fund recovery and basic social services, in partnership with other humanitarian stakeholders. The appeal included targeted food aid, nutrition programmes, basic social services, support for prevention and treatment of HIV and Aids and agricultural recovery.