Cablegate: Ngo Study Highlights Enormous

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: NGO study highlights enormous
destruction from GOZ'S Operation Murambatsvina
and UN launches appeal.

REF: (a) Harare 1186
(b) Harare 1307

1. (U) Summary: ActionAid International
recently presented to the US Mission the findings
of the first nationwide assessment of the impact
of the Government of Zimbabwe's (GOZ) Operation
Murambatsvina. Their staggering conclusions
indicate that nearly 1.2 million people were
directly affected and over US$60 million in
assets of some of the poorest people in Zimbabwe
were destroyed. The recommendations of the
report are consistent with those of the recently
released UN appeal. Post supports the call to
address the emergency humanitarian needs of the
victims of this disastrous operation, but
cautions that some of the UN's proposed
activities are not appropriate to the emergency
situation. End Summary.

2. (U) ActionAid International, a South African-
based NGO formed in 1972 and now working in over
42 countries to assist the poor, recently
completed the first nationwide study looking at
the impact of the GOZ's Operation Murambatsvina
(Restore Order, or Drive Out the Trash).
ActionAid undertook this study in conjunction
with several local NGO partners. The study was
based on data collected from over 23,000
households in 66 different affected neighborhoods
in 6 different urban centers. (Note: While
ActionAid's study is the first comprehensive
attempt to assess Operation Murambatsvina's
impact, it is important to note that it is based
on a non-random sample. The large sampling size
provides useful information on general trends,
but its "unscientific" methodology means that the
findings cannot be conclusively extrapolated to a
nationwide scale. End note.)

3. (U) Based on its research, ActionAid estimates
that nearly 1.2 million people were directly
affected by the GOZ's violent cleanup campaign.
In July, the UN Special Envoy's report had
estimated the number of people affected by the
operation at 700,000 (Comment: Due to Actionaid's
methodology, we suspect that its estimate of 1.2
million people affected is high, and that the
UN's estimate is likely more accurate. End
comment). Some highlights of ActionAid's
findings are:

- - 70% of respondents lost their shelter;
- - 73% lost their primary source of income;
- - 22% of children dropped out of school, but
- - a further 44% of respondents reported that
they were unlikely to be able to continue paying
school fees for long;
- - 48% of households lost property (in addition
to shelter);
- - 54% of households reported that they were now
food insecure;
- - 38% of households reported
separation/disruption of families, but
- - over 40% of households hosting orphans
reported such disruptions;
- - 35% of households stated that women and
children had become more vulnerable to abuse due
to the operation;
- - 15% of households reportedly lost access to
ARV treatment for AIDS.

4. (U) ActionAid estimates the value of the
assets/property of the urban poor destroyed by
Operation Murambatsvina at nearly US$30 million,
excluding Harare. (Note: The first phase of the
study only covered Harare and did not include a
question on the value of assets lost. A question
to this effect was added only in the study's
second phase, which covered five other urban
centers. End Note.) Given Harare's large size
compared to other urban centers in Zimbabwe,
ActionAid estimates that if asset losses in
Harare were included they would likely more than
double the total loss of property to over US$60

5. (U) This week, the Ambassador toured some of
the affected areas to assess the continuing
impact of the damage. In Hatcliff, which used to
be a vibrant community, he witnessed large
numbers of people still left to sleep, eat and
bathe out in the open. These people are
completely exposed to the elements, with the
rains expected to start in late October. The
Ambassador talked to a young woman who started a
pre-school on her own for over 20 children (many
of them orphans) who no longer had access to
school. In Mabvuku he talked to a dozen elderly
women whose sole source of income (selling
tomatoes) had been destroyed by the police
multiple times, including as recently as a week

6. (U) UN Appeal: Just last week the UN
released it long-awaited "Common Response Plan
for the needs of vulnerable persons affected by
Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order,"
requesting US$29.8 million between now and
December 2005. The appeal, released after
protracted discussions with the GOZ but without
GOZ concurrence, identifies approximately 300,000
people as the most vulnerable and in need of
emergency assistance. Most of these people have
lost their homes, their source of livelihood, or
both. (Note: Donors have already responded to
many of these immediate humanitarian needs, with
the major donors, including the U.S., having
provided approximately US$6 million to date for
emergency food, water, sanitation and household
items. End note.) Proposed humanitarian
interventions in this new appeal include:

- - provide temporary shelter and household
items for up to 100,000 individuals (20,000
households) who are currently homeless, and
advocate to the GOZ for the allocation of stands
(lots) to those most vulnerable (US$18,000,000
through UN-Habitat and IOM);
- - provide food and nutrition information to up
to 200,000 people (US$1,538,304 to UNICEF; WFP
has available foodstocks);
- - protect vulnerable populations, focusing on
children, women and girls (US$1,150,000 to
- - provide basic health services, including
Child and Maternal Health, immunizations, and
reproductive health (US$2,181,000 to WHO, UNICEF,
- - meet HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment
needs, including home-based care, referrals, VCT,
behavior-change communications, and access to ART
(US$994,000 to UNAIDS, WHO, IOM, UNICEF);
- - provide access to adequate and safe water
and sanitation (US$1,306.100 to UNICEF);
- - provide access to quality education for
20,000 children (US$653,000 to UNICEF);
- - develop an information, education,
communication (IEC) program targeted at 20,000
households in nutrition, immunizations, water and
sanitation, and life skills. (US$248,000 to
- - expand facilities, including shelter, water,
sanitation and health to Tongogara refugee camp
for the additional 4,500 refugees (US$600,000 to
- - develop a livelihoods recovery program for
100,000 individuals (US$3,000,000 to UNDP); and
- - support to the office of the UN Humanitarian
Coordinator/HST (US$200,000 to UNHC).
7. (U) Donor views on UN Appeal: We have
discussed the appeal with other major donors in
country (i.e., British, Dutch, Swedes,
Norwegians, Canadians), all of whom have views
similar to ours. Donors recognize the urgent
need to provide immediate humanitarian assistance
to those households most at risk as a result of
the operation. Donors stressed the importance of
limiting humanitarian assistance to the provision
of temporary shelter, food, water, and
sanitation, urging that it not extend to longer-
term recovery activities in health, education and
microfinance, which, as the responsibility of the
GOZ, are not appropriate for a humanitarian

8. (U) Donor views on UN Appeal cont.:
Consistent with our perspective, the major donors
acknowledge that the provision of temporary
shelter raises particular complications in the
context of Operation Murambatsvina and the GOZ's
own reconstruction program: Operation Garikai
(reftel A). Shelter remains a serious
humanitarian concern for approximately a hundred
thousand people. The major donors, however, are
unanimous in their insistence that donor-funded
structures must be in the nature of temporary
shelter, and must be provided within a framework
that responds to the ongoing problems of
delivering humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe.
First, given the GOZ's intentional and
unnecessary destruction of houses, humanitarian
support must not relieve pressure on the GOZ to
live up to its responsibilities. Second,
proposed temporary shelter interventions must be
appropriate and in-line with internationally
accepted standards. Third, in light of numerous
credible allegations that the GOZ has used its
patronage system to allocate stands under
Operation Garikai to party supporters and state
employees (including police), it is essential
that any temporary shelter program have
monitoring systems in place to assure donors that
the process of beneficiary selection is fair and
that all beneficiaries are actual, vulnerable
victims of Operation Murambatsvina. Fourth, with
the GOZ continuing to allege that some people are
"illegally" occupying land, the donors also
insist that the right of beneficiaries to remain
on their lots must be clear. Finally, with
recent problems both donors and NGOs have
experienced gaining access to victims of
Operation Murambatsvina, all donors emphasize the
need for the GOZ to allow unhindered access to
assess, respond to and monitor humanitarian

9. (SBU) Comment: It is clear that the impact of
Operation Murambatsvina will be with Zimbabwe for
many, many years. While ActionAid's study is not
a comprehensive analysis of the operation's
impact (because it is based on self-reporting by
respondents), it nonetheless paints a dreadful
picture. Poverty in Zimbabwe was already
deepening and expanding due to the country's
rapid economic deterioration, but this wanton
destruction of livelihoods and property only
further exacerbates an already dire situation.
Responding to the humanitarian needs of this
population is going to be a tremendous challenge
with the GOZ still not granting unimpeded access
to the vulnerable and refusing to acknowledge the
humanitarian consequences of its actions. The
relatively high cost of temporary shelter
solutions proposed by the UN must also be
carefully reviewed. The good news is that the
UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs, OCHA, has renewed interest in Zimbabwe
and is taking steps to strengthen humanitarian
coordination, information sharing and the overall
response (reftel B). The recently issued UN
appeal, if funded, will address many of the needs
identified by ActionAid. The challenge will be
how to respond effectively to emergency needs
while maintaining accountability and pressure on
the GOZ for their action.


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