U.N. Agencies Increase Request for Foreign Donations to Zimbabwe

In the midst of Zimbabwe’s growing humanitarian crisis, U.N. agencies on Monday released a revised statement of appeal for foreign donations totaling $718 million for “food, clean water, AIDS medicines and other aid – up from an estimate of $550 million in November,” the AP/Washington Post reports (Shaw, AP/Washington Post, 6/1).

“Clearly, significant changes in the country’s political and socio-economic landscape have occurred since January 2009,” Agostinho Zacarias, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Zimbabwe, said Monday during the launch of the revised Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) 2009 in the capital city of Harare, Zimbabwe. The CAP is a tool used for raising money for humanitarian efforts (IRIN, 6/1). Growing needs in the sectors of agriculture, health, education, food aid and safe water led to the boosted funding request (Banya, Reuters, 6/1).

Basic social services in the country have suffered, worsened still by “a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 4,200 people since August and increased hunger,” the AP/Washington Post writes (AP/Washington Post, 6/1).

“It is uncertain whether the revised CAP will translate into more funding; at $246 million the initial appeal was still only 45 percent funded by the end of May,” half of which was carried over from 2008, IRIN writes, adding, “Actual funding to the CAP was therefore only 17 percent, compared to 25 percent at the same time a year ago” (IRIN, 6/1). An additional $8 billion appeal by Zimbabwe’s government to help with economic recovery in the country – “separate from humanitarian aid” – has so far pulled in $400 million “pledged in credit lines since April” (AP/Washington Post, 6/1).

The U.N. estimates “six million Zimbabweans have limited or no access to clean water, more than half the population may require food aid this year,” and “44,000 children under five years need treatment for acute malnutrition.”

“Consequences of a protracted economic meltdown and lack of agricultural inputs for the 2008/9 agriculture season, compounded by the collapse of critical social services, continue to place the country in a situation of structural emergency,” the U.N. said (Reuters, 6/1).

Recent Deaths of Prisoners Suspected To Be Caused By Cholera Outbreak

In related news, the Zimbabwe Times examines the recent report that at least ten inmates at a prison in Zimbabwe have died and others were hospitalized over the weekend following a cholera outbreak at the institution. A police spokesperson confirmed the inmate deaths, but did not confirm the cause of death to be cholera (Chikari, Zimbabwe Times, 6/2).

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