In 2008 and early 2009, Zimbabwe faced a complex humanitarian crisis. There was an increased need for aid across the nation following the temporary suspension of aid operations, a fast spreading cholera outbreak and worsening food insecurity. World Vision provided assistance to families affected by cholera and by the food shortages. Following the temporary diversion from development to emergency relief activities, World Vision has now resumed long-term development programs across the country.
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In June 2008, aid agencies operating in Zimbabwe received a letter from the Zimbabwean Government ordering the immediate suspension of operations and World Vision complied with this request. World Vision was permitted to recommence feeding programs in urban areas in July and by the end of August aid agencies were permitted to resume operations in full.
In late 2008, a cholera outbreak swept through Zimbabwe, claiming more than 4,000 lives with a further 100,000 reported cases by mid-2009. Hospitals were closed following massive exodus of essential staff in protest against poor remunerations and working conditions. The rapid deterioration of the health delivery system, lack of adequate water supply, and lack of capacity to dispose of solid waste and repair sewer blockages in most areas were the main factors of the spread of the outbreak.
Further to the rapid cholera onset, rampant inflation and critical food and fuel shortages in the early months of 2009, found more than 80 per cent of the population struggling to survive on less than US $2 a day.
The United Nations estimated that about 5.5 million people were food insecure and in urgent need of food aid, calling for increased international help for the country. The United Nations estimates that 2.8 million people will face food shortages in Zimbabwe in 2009 and 2010, requiring some 228,000 tonnes of food assistance.
Zimbabwe has also been gripped by an eight-year political and economic impasse. In February 2009, the three main political parties signed a deal to form a Government of National Unity that is hoped to pave the way for peace and reconstruction in the future.
World Vision's response
World Vision has been working in Zimbabwe since 1973 with long-term development programs now operating in 26 districts. World Vision has been working with communities responding to the Cholera outbreak, and food shortages.
World Vision response during the Cholera outbreak included the following:
- Provision of medical supplies and non-food items such as water purification tablets, oral rehydration Solution sachets, soap, and jerry cans to affected areas.
- Drilling 16 new and repairing six boreholes
- Installation of six water storage tanks
- Distributing plastic water containers to 3,700 households
World Vision has also installed water reservoirs as part of long term measures to restore the supply of clean and safe water.
Between January and March 2009, at the peak of the hunger period, World Vision provided food aid to a total of 1.3 million people.
The resumption of school brought relief to thousands of children who were missing out on a daily supplementary cooked meal eaten at school. World Vision also worked with other agencies to feed almost 270,000 children in 13 districts.
Women and children
World Vision set up child friendly spaces for children at schools that were closed, providing them with a safe and supervised place to play, learn, share their experiences and access food. Once schools were re-opened, World Vision provided educational materials along with incentives to teachers to support children’s education. World Vision also assisted women, children and the chronically ill to access basic health care such as immunisations and supplementary feeding programs.
Following the decision to temporarily divert programming in Zimbabwe to emergency relief activities, World Vision has now resumed longer term development activities. As the largest aid agency in Zimbabwe, World Vision’s programs currently benefit more than one million people every month. World Vision’s long-term development programs are currently operating in 26 districts.
Children sponsored by Australians
Ongoing development activities have now resumed in full. Sponsors can expect standard communications and updates from Zimbabwe.
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World Vision airlifts US$4 million of cholera drugs into Zimbabwe
Friday, 23 January 2009
World Vision and Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) have airlifted a shipment of more than US $4 million worth of cholera* medications to Zimbabwe, with the support of the Canadian government.
Some 38,000 people have suffered from the disease that has already claimed more than 1,900 lives since August and the epidemic is expected to spread as the peak of the rainy season begins this month, World Vision says.
The re-hydration solutions and antibiotics donated by HPIC were flown in on a chartered plane and World Vision will distribute the medications in Zimbabwe to benefit children and families suffering from cholera. The donated medications will be distributed by World Vision to health centers in Mashonaland Central in the north of the country as well as Bulawayo and Matebeleland South.
World Vision is leading the aid agency cholera response in these three provinces. Since the first cases of the cholera outbreak were recorded in August, the situation has been worsened by rapid deterioration of the health delivery system; critical shortage of medical supplies; inadequate water supply; and lack of solid waste disposal and sewerage system in most areas.
World Vision is leading a coordinated response to the cholera situation by providing medical supplies, by drilling boreholes and by distributing non-food items such as soap, jerry cans and oral rehydration solution sachets to affected areas.
World Vision also continues to distribute food aid in the country and plans to feed a total of 1.3 million people during the peak of the hunger period of January to March when 5.5 million Zimbabweans are expected to be in urgent need of food.
World Vision has been working in Zimbabwe since 1973 and currently runs long-term development programs in 26 districts.
*Cholera is an infectious disease caused by consuming dirty water or food, it cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, and cramps and if untreated, can cause death within 8 hours.