Heavy rainfall during the 2020/2021 season (October-March)—including due to Tropical Storm Chalane in December 2020—enabled farmers in Zimbabwe to plant crops and caused significant improvements in water, pasture and livestock conditions during the first quarter of 2021, according to FEWSNET. However, as improvements in food security will come only after the harvest, people in southern, western and extreme northern areas of Zimbabwe still faced severe food insecurity during the peak of the lean season (January-March).
While being positive for the food security outlook, the heavy rains also caused localized destruction and damage in multiple locations, with Manicaland Province (particularly Chimanimani and Chipinge Districts) hardest hit by Tropical Storm Chalane and Chitungwiza District—some 38 kilometers from the country’s capital, Harare—impacted by the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Eloise.
The COVID-19 pandemic also continued across the country, with 23,015 cases recorded between January and March 2021. COVID-19 containment measures, including the lockdown measures imposed from 2 January to 30 March impacted people in urban areas in particular, including due to loss of livelihoods and a rise in gender-based violence.
The Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) was severely underfunded, with less than 2 per cent of the requirements received by the end of March, according to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS). Out of 4.5 million people targeted by humanitarian partners in the HRP, 648,000 people were reached from January to March 2021, including 634,000 who were assisted to access health services, 335,000 who received food assistance, about 219,000 children who were supported to access education, more than 100,000 children and women who received micronutrient supplements and over 10,000 children who were reached with psychosocial support services. Humanitarian partners also worked intensively to Prevent Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) in Zimbabwe, finalizing reporting procedures and carrying-out key trainings.