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Cablegate: Fy 2006 Re-Declaration of Disaster In

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

141024Z Nov 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001549

SIPDIS

STATE/AF FOR NEULING
AID FOR DCHA/OFDA FOR PRATT, MARX, GOTTLIEB, ISAACS
DCHA/FFP FOR PETERSEN, MUTAMBA, DWORKEN
AFR/SA FOR LOKEN, COPSON
BRUSSELS FOR LERNER
PRETORIA FOR DISKIN, HALE, SINK
NAIROBI FOR SMITH, BROWN
GABORONE FOR CASHION, BROWN
ROME FOR FODAG
NSC FOR JMELINE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID EAGR PREL US ZI
SUBJECT: FY 2006 Re-declaration of Disaster in
Zimbabwe for Complex Emergency

Ref: (a) Harare 1507 (b) Harare 1447

(c) Harare 1330 (d) Harare 1489

--------
Summary
--------

1. The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is
deteriorating due to a variety of factors, including:
continued economic and especially agricultural collapse
brought about by government mismanagement and
corruption, the government's displacement of large
numbers of families, in urban areas through its
Operation Restore Order, and in rural areas due to
renewed commercial farm takeovers. Close to 6 million
people country-wide may require food assistance until
the next harvest in April 2006. The Ambassador has
determined that the continuing complex emergency in
Zimbabwe is of sufficient magnitude to warrant USG
humanitarian assistance in FY 2006.

-----------
Background
-----------

2. Zimbabweans are caught in a downward spiral of
increasing poverty and food insecurity caused by the
GOZ's counter-productive economic policies. The high
HIV/AIDS prevalence and the general collapse of the
rule of law are also contributing factors. The sharp
economic decline and hyperinflation in Zimbabwe (by
some estimates approaching four digits) are having dire
consequences on the country's population, notably
extremely high unemployment, the deterioration of
social services, shortages of basic goods and fuel, and
eroded purchasing power.

3. During the 2004-2005 growing season, parts of
Zimbabwe suffered from drought conditions that
exacerbated poor government policies and resulted in an
extremely poor harvest. Estimates of 2005 maize
production range from 350,000-600,000 MT, compared to a
national requirement of some 1.8 million MT. The
Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) has announced that it will
import 1.2 million MT of maize to fill the gap.
However, independent observers question whether the GOZ
has sufficient foreign exchange to import such a
quantity and whether the most vulnerable populations
will be able to access this food. International
observers estimate that as many as 5.8 million people
may require assistance to meet their food needs during
this hunger season (Reftel A). Regardless of rainfall,
the FY 2006 harvest is also expected to be poor given
the unaffordability of seeds for most poor households
and the general unavailability of other inputs,
particularly fuel and fertilizer (Reftel B).

4. Internal displacement and urban vulnerability have
also substantially increased over the past five months,
largely due to the GOZ's Operation Murambatsvina
(Restore Order), which destroyed thousands of homes and
businesses deemed "illegal" by the government (Reftel
C). According to, the report of the UN Special Envoy,
the operation resulted in the displacement of some
700,000 people and indirectly affected up to 2.4
million people. Five months after the operation, many
households are still living in the open or are crammed
into dwellings which were not destroyed. Although
urgent needs remain in shelter, water and sanitation,
health, and protection, humanitarian access to the
affected populations has been extremely problematic
(Reftel D).

-----------------------------
Current Humanitarian Response
-----------------------------

5. The Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) has refused to
appeal for international food assistance but has stated
that it will accept assistance if provided. WFP is
currently expanding its food aid program in order to
reach some 4 million vulnerable people by the height of
the hunger season in January. The GOZ has not yet
signed a Memorandum of Understanding with WFP, which
outlines procedures for food distribution. The GOZ
has, however, given WFP written approval of its list of
proposed NGOs to distribute food, which included
approval for the consortium of NGOs funded bilaterally
by USAID's Office of Food for Peace (FFP) known as C-
SAFE. USAID/FFP provides funding to the C-SAFE NGOs to
feed 600,000 people in addition to those covered by
WFP's food program.

6. In September 2005, the UN circulated a Common
Response Plan requesting some $30 million to address
the needs of populations adversely affected by
Operation Murambatsvina. The government, however, has
been uncooperative for which they were criticized this
month by UN Secretary General Annan. In collaboration
with NGOs and donors, the UN is also preparing a
consolidated appeal (CAP) to address the wider,
deteriorating humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe. The
CAP will likely be launched in November 2005.

6. In FY 2005, USG humanitarian assistance to
Zimbabwe totaled over $46 million from USAID/FFP, and
from USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance
(OFDA). Of this amount, over $1.7 million was provided
by OFDA specifically to address the victims of
Operation Murambatsvina.

----------------
Mission request
----------------

7. Based on the complexity and magnitude of the
continuing crisis the Ambassador believes that the GOZ
has neither the resources nor the capacity nor the
willingness to respond effectively to Zimbabwe's
humanitarian situation. Therefore, the Ambassador
exercises his disaster assistance authority to declare
Zimbabwe to be in a state of complex emergency, and
requests continued assistance from USAID/OFDA and
USAID/FFP during FY 2006 to meet humanitarian needs in
Zimbabwe.

Schultz

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