The Zimbabwe government and United Nations(UN) on Thursday launched a US$715m humanitarian Response appeal to fund the fight against coronavirus pandemic.
Zimbabwe,which has a critical humanitarian need, has reported nine confirmed cases of the disease also known as COVID-19 including one death.
The country is less equipped and might struggle to respond.
Of the required US$715m, about 60% or US$422m will go towards food security, US$63m to health, US$61m to water, sanitation and hygiene, US$42m to education,US$21m to protection,US$ 18m to nutrition,US$10m to shelter, and US$950,000 to camp coordination and management.
The plan will be implemented in collaboration with 47 operational partners through cluster approach.
Apart from COVID-19, it will also cater for the residual humanitarian needs of Cyclone Idai-affected communities and on-going support to refugees.
The Minister of Local Government, Public Works, and National Housing, July Moyo signed on behalf of government while the resident coordinator, Maria Ribeiro signed for the UN.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, several government ministers,World Health Organisation and World Food Programme representatives witnessed the signing of the response plan.
“The humanitarian response plan will play a key role in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and protecting those most vulnerable in communities in Zimbabwe,” UN said in a statement.
“…Efforts have been scaled up to further contain the spread. The United Nations in Zimbabwe have added immediate complementary interventions to the humanitarian response plan for 2020, in support of the Zimbabwe COVID-19 preparedness and response plan.”
This, the UN said will address the increasing vulnerabilities of an estimated seven million people who need multi-sectoral humanitarian support.
Food insecurity remains the major concern with over 4.3m people or 46% of the rural population requires continued assistance.
Zimbabwe has over the past two years experienced multiple climate and economic related shocks impacting the lives of many in both rural and urban communities.
COVID-19 pandemic is the latest shock impacting on the wellbeing and livelihoods of Zimbabweans.
Urban vulnerability has also been on the increase due to persistent economic shock, leaving some 2.2m people food insecure according to the latest urban Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee assessment.
Those hardest hit have been forced to resort to negative coping mechanisms, with particularly dangerous consequences for women and girls who are simply striving to survive.