UNITED Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has appealed for US$70,9 million to help Zimbabwe deal with a worsening humanitarian crisis.
The international organisation mandated to provide humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide, said as of July 31 funding totalling about US$30,7 million, about 30 percent of the total 2020 funding requirement, had been received from various donors.
“Unicef is appealing for US$70,9 million to meet the increased humanitarian needs in the country in 2020 as a result of the multiple hazards of drought, residual impacts of Cyclone Idai, diarrheal disease outbreaks, and an economic crisis compounded by the current Covid-19 outbreak,” said a Unicef report.
The UN agency added that the Covid-19 pandemic, which has so far claimed 153 lives out of 5 893 confirmed cases, was having a devastating effect on children as more cases of malnutrition are now being recorded.
“Without a well-resourced response, the Covid-19 epidemic is projected to exacerbate existing vulnerabilities among children, with a lasting negative impact on children’s education and learning outcomes.
“The combined impact of drought and economic deterioration has thus worsened the dire situation of vulnerable children, placing them at a heightened risk of increased protection violations and negative coping strategies,” said Unicef.
A July analysis by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao) and World Food Programme (WFP) included Zimbabwe among 27 countries in the world facing Covid-19-induced famine.
As at July 31, according to WFP, the number of food-insecure Zimbabweans stood at 8,6 million. It said the desperate situation faced by many is exacerbated by the combined effects of drought, economic recession and the Covid-19 pandemic.