GOVERNMENT has appealed for an additional US$257 million in humanitarian aid to staunch the deterioration in essential health and education servic
es and to cushion vulnerable groups, as the country slips into further economic turmoil.
The upgraded request was realised during a mid-term review of the government’s massive US$277 million 2006 Consolidated Appeal launched in December 2005 that identified new areas of need and increased demands in health and education.
The reviewed appeal dated July 18, 2006 will now run into 2007.
An appeal document, seen by the Zimbabwe Independent, shows that, although priority needs remain unchanged from the 2006 Consolidated Appeal, there have been increased needs in the health sector where efforts to improve and support basic services and respond to epidemic outbreaks are high.
“The humanitarian challenges involving vulnerable groups continue to be of great concern in Zimbabwe,” the appeal says.
“A large proportion of the country’s population is considered vulnerable, including orphans or single parented children, people living with HIV and Aids, the chronically ill, people with severe disabilities, refugees, food-insecure communities, ex-farm workers and victims of Operation Murambatsvina,” the appeal notes.
The appeal estimates that 4,2 million people fall within the targeted group in need of urgent assistance.
“The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is further impacted by a continuing economic decline with inflation reaching 1,193.5% in May 2006. Shortages in foreign exchange, and high unemployment and negative growth, add to the vulnerability and suffering of the population,” the appeal says.
“Hyperinflation has also resulted in increased operational costs for humanitarian programmes resulting in fewer people receiving the required assistance.”
The appeal predicted further deterioration as government policies fail to turn the economy around.
“It is believed that 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.”