The European Union has yet again increased its assistance to Zimbabwe with another EUR 2.35 million (USD 2.49 million) in response to the El Niño-induced drought and to help alleviate the impact of the lean season that peaked from January to March 2017.
The additional financial support is delivered through the EU's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) and comes barely five months after the EU had allocated another EUR 7.5 million (USD 8 million) from the reserve of the 11th European Development Fund to address the impact of the crises through various resilience building initiatives. This latest allocation brings the total contribution by the EU and its Member States to combat this crisis to EUR 106 million (approximately USD 114 million), which will help assisting some of the most vulnerable among the 4.1 million people that have become food insecure during the peak of the lean season and therefore in need of humanitarian assistance. Recent flooding has only exacerbated an already fragile situation.
"The EU has shown continuous solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe in the face of successive hazards and consequent humanitarian challenges. The worst has been avoided and we now have to prepare for the future, building more resilient communities against future climate shocks and other hazards. Through cash transfers initiatives we have contributed to prevent most vulnerable people to fall into chronic destitution while maintaining functioning markets; it is now important to strengthen capacities and coping mechanisms of these communities, improving, among others, their livelihood base systems, farming productivity and market linkages as well as better prepare them in case of new future disasters," said Ambassador Philippe Van Damme, EU Head of Delegation in Harare.
This additional funding will ensure the EU's implementing partners, including the UN World Food Programme and Save the Children, continue and increase the geographical reach of actions started in 2016 until the end of the lean season.
The Save the Children project targets over 58 000 affected people in four districts with humanitarian food assistance through mobile cash transfers. The WFP project targets over 67 000 beneficiaries, assisting them also through cash transfers.
With this latest top-up, the EU has mobilised EUR 26 million (USD 27.57 million) for measures to alleviate the El Niño-induced drought, such as cash-based responses and emergency livestock initiatives. Out of that amount, the total contribution from ECHO will reach EUR 18.5 million (USD 19.61 million).
The EU Member States, of which eleven are represented in Harare, have bilaterally since 2015 also provided a total of EUR 80.1 million (approx. USD 86 million) for relief programs; in particular by contributions from the United Kingdom/DFID, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and Italy across a number of key sectors such as food assistance, water and sanitation, nutrition and overall support to livelihood systems. Responses modalities are based on market assessment with a strong emphasis on the use of initiatives based on cash transfers.
The sizeable total contribution of EUR 106 million by the European Union and its Member States is in direct response to the declaration of a state of emergency by the Government of Zimbabwe and the subsequent appeal for humanitarian assistance in February 2016. It is furthermore proof of the continuing commitment to strengthen Zimbabwe's coping mechanisms regarding shocks such as the El Niño-induced drought, and it contributes to the United Nations' Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP April 2016 – March 2017), for which a total of USD 352 million has been requested.