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Zimbabweans credited Tsvangirai with improvement

Zimbabweans were more positive about the future after the formation of the inclusive government and credited Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change for the economic improvements.

Conditions for many Zimbabweans had improved in 2009 thanks in large part to the decision to scrap the Zimbabwe dollar.

Foreign currencies now circulated instead, making day-to-day survival less difficult for many Zimbabweans.

The swearing in of a transitional government in February had also enhanced economic, social, and political stability.

But even with these improvements, a large number of Zimbabweans faced food insecurity and awaited free distribution of inputs for agriculture because they were too poor to buy food and farming inputs.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE822, FY10 RENEWAL OF DISASTER DECLARATION IN ZIMBABWE FOR

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE822

2009-10-15 08:20

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXYZ0000

RR RUEHWEB

 

DE RUEHSB #0822/01 2880820

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 150820Z OCT 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5017

INFO RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 5751

UNCLAS HARARE 000822

 

AFR/SA FOR LDOBBINS, JHARMON

OFDA/W for KLUU, ACONVERY, LMTHOMAS, TDENYSENKO

FFP/W for JBORNS, ASINK, LPETERSEN

PRETORIA for HHALE, PDISKIN, SMCNIVEN

 

SIPDIS

AIDAC

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: EAID EAGR PREL PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: FY10 RENEWAL OF DISASTER DECLARATION IN ZIMBABWE FOR

COMPLEX EMERGENCY

 

REF: 2008 HARARE 904

 

THIS IS AN ACTION CABLE. See paras 3 and 9 below.

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. Recent public opinion polling reveals that many Zimbabweans feel

more positive about the future than they have during recent years.

They credit the transitional government and, more specifically,

Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC for the economic improvements they

have seen. But while the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe has

improved compared to a year ago, millions of Zimbabweans continue to

live a precarious existence. They are threatened by the possibility

of renewed state sponsored political violence, the risk of another

cholera epidemic, and tenuous food security. Farm invasions during

the past eight months have displaced two thousand workers, according

to the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe

(GAPWUZ). The government’s thin revenues cannot support basic needs

for health care, water, sanitation and hygiene, education, and other

necessities. All this means that the current complex humanitarian

crisis will be with Zimbabwe during the next year.

 

3. This cable requests renewal of the disaster declaration for this

complex emergency for FY10. Continued humanitarian assistance from

USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) will be

required in FY10 to meet critical humanitarian needs of both urban

and rural populations. In FY09, USAID/OFDA provided more than USD

30 million in humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe. END SUMMARY.

 

 

——————————

Humanitarian Crisis Background

——————————

 

3. Conditions for many Zimbabweans have improved in FY 2009 thanks

in large part to the decision to scrap the Zimbabwe dollar. Foreign

currencies now circulate instead, making day-to-day survival less

difficult for many Zimbabweans than it was a year ago. The swearing

in of a transitional government in February has also enhanced

economic, social, and political stability. A recent nationwide

public opinion poll conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute

reveals a marked improvement in attitudes toward economic prospects

for the future compared to just one year ago. Such gains, and the

continued existence of the transitional government itself, however,

are tenuous. Even with these improvements, a large number of

Zimbabweans face food insecurity and await free distribution of

inputs for agriculture because they are too poor to buy food and

farming inputs.

 

 

4. They also face the threat of renewed state-sponsored organized

violence and torture as the country prepares for the rollout of a

constitution making process, a referendum on a constitution, and

national and local elections — all possibly within the next 18

months. More than a year after the June 2008 elections, thousands

of Zimbabweans who were victims of state-sponsored violence were

still seeking medical, legal, and other humanitarian assistance.

More than 8,000 persons were treated by one medical service provider

alone, the USAID-funded Counseling Services Unit, during the past

year. Many in the human rights and pro-democracy communities fear

that the uneasy calm prevailing over most of the country could

explode in renewed violence during the coming year, creating new

waves of injured and displaced populations.

 

5. GAPWUZ estimates that at least 2,000 people have been displaced

by farm invasions since February. This number could grow

significantly over the coming year. Cholera took the lives of more

Qsignificantly over the coming year. Cholera took the lives of more

than 4,000 persons last year and although programming responses by

USAID, the UN and other donors have reduced the possibility of an

outbreak of this magnitude, cholera has reemerged. At the October

combined Health and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Cluster

meeting on cholera, the Ministry of Health and the World Health

Organization (WHO) reported 7 confirmed cases out of 33 suspected

cases of cholera since September.

 

6. A FEWSNET special report dated September 30 states that, thanks

to the liberalization of markets and the collapse of the Grain

Marketing Board, private traders are able to import food and other

items and sell them at stable market prices. The 80 percent of

rural households and 60 percent of urban households who get about 80

percent of their annual food requirements from their own production

have benefitted from good harvests, increasing their access to food

compared to the same time last year. FEWSNET also notes that

“Zimbabwe’s still depressed economy continues to limit employment

 

opportunities, and even for those who are employed, low wages

constrict their purchasing power for food and other basic

commodities and services.”

 

7. The FEWSNET special report concludes that “the new macroeconomic

environment in Zimbabwe has not only resulted in greater

availability of cheaper food, but has also created a problem of

accessibility for the poor households. Supplies of both food and

non-foodstuff in urban areas remain favorable with improved

availability since January and this is expected to continue through

December 2009, given the extended imports regulations…as Zimbabwe

moves into the hunger period (October to February), the proportion

of food insecure households will be significant despite the good

harvest and economic recovery.” A joint WFP/FAO crop assessment

estimated that 2.8 million Zimbabweans will be in need of monthly

food rations during the 2009/2010 lean season, but the actual

requirement may be less. The actual outcome will depend on the

political situation, the evolving economy and market conditions.

 

———————————–

USG Humanitarian Assistance in FY09

———————————–

 

8. The USG provided a total of $201,452,250 in humanitarian

assistance to Zimbabwe in FY 2009. This included $30.9 million from

OFDA, of which $7.3m was for emergency relief supplies and WASH

activities of nine partners in areas affected by cholera; the

remaining $23.6m from OFDA went to fourteen partners for agriculture

and food security inputs, WASH, risk reduction and humanitarian

coordination, emergency relief supplies, information management, and

protection. $166.6 million from FFP went to two partners in

emergency food assistance and $3.9 million from State/PRM to three

partners for refugee/migrant assistance and humanitarian support.

 

—————————————-

Renewal of Disaster Declaration for FY10

—————————————-

 

9. Improvement on the political and economic fronts

notwithstanding, it is clear that the complex humanitarian crisis

continues. Post is particularly concerned about: the continued farm

invasions and the growing number of displaced farm workers; the

potential for a new round of state-sponsored organized violence and

torture, as the country moves towards a constitutional referendum

and elections; and the resurgence of cholera. Zimbabwe continues to

have emergent needs in all humanitarian sectors including food

insecurity, sustainable livelihoods, WASH, protection, and access to

adequate healthcare.   Therefore, Post hereby requests renewal of

the disaster declaration for FY09 (Ref). Post will continue to work

closely with the regional offices of USAID/FFP and USAID/OFDA to

monitor the situation and determine what types of additional

humanitarian assistance may be required to save lives, alleviate

suffering, and reduce the economic impact of this complex disaster.

 

PETTERSON

 

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