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  • Operation Murambatsvina - Countrywide evictions of urban poor - Index of articles

  • ZIMBABWE: Assistance to the population affected by the 'clean-up' exercise
    International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
    October 18, 2005

    Operational Summary:
    The relief efforts promoted by the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society and the Federation have alleviated the suffering of approximately 1,500 most vulnerable households affected by the 'clean up' exercise, particularly those of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS (OVC) and those who sought shelter in holding camps (in June and July 2005). However, at the onset of the rainy season, the needs of most households affected by the 'clean up' exercise remain largely unmet. Combined with the effects of a drought that severely impacted on the 2004/05 agricultural season, the capacity of the affected households to cope with the situation is limited.

    To date, the appeal has received 15.7% coverage and further donor support to meet the needs of the targeted 3,000 household s is encouraged. An extension of the current emergency operation is envisaged - should the pledged funding be received after the end of October 2005.

    Operational developments
    The 'clean up' operation - started by the government of Zimbabwe in May 2005- was concluded in July 2005, when operation 'Garikai/Hlalani Khulhe' (operation stay well) was launched. Under operation 'Garikai/Hlalani Khulhe', construction of shelter for the families affected by the 'clean up' operation is planned by the government of Zimbabwe. Most of affected people - scattered all over Zimbabwe - are seeking opportunities for resettlement; some in the government designated areas, other in rural areas and others by being hosted by families and relatives within the cities. This phenomenon is negatively affecting the most vulnerable, especially OVC and the chronically ill people, who in the process can hardly access basic services such as medical care, shelter, food, water and sanitation. The situation is worsened by the general economic decline currently being experienced in Zimbabwe, the protracted fuel shortage crisis and the effects of the drought experienced during the 2004/05 agricultural season - resulting in a poor harvest.

    Currently, the people affected can be classified into the following categories:

    • The people who went to rural areas directly from where they where removed and those who initially went to holding camps and later moved to rural areas. According to recent reports from the Mashonaland, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces Red Cross branches, some of these families are returning to urban areas. Initial reports and verifications portray changes in the whereabouts of the same families as of September 2005 since their coping mechanisms and safety nets have been drastically reduced. Several households have been contacting the national society's provincial offices seeking for assistance, mostly in the form of food and other basic requirements - like shelter.
    • The households that remained camped within illegal settlements (previously demolished), such as in Epworth, Hopley, Hatcliffe and White Cliff suburbs - in Harare, Victoria Falls, Gwanda, Beitbridge and Bulawayo. Assistance to this group presents operational challenges because of the government directive of assisting only those within designated areas and with housing development approved by the city councils. Most of the households in this category are destitute, with increasing difficulty in meeting their basic needs and with very little capacity to look into strategies to access accommodation schemes. Some children in these illegal settlements are malnourished due to lack of adequate food and have no proper communication channels to present their problems and needs.
    • The households that will benefit from the housing being constructed in designated areas and those who have been allocated stands by local authorities. These families currently use basic infrastructure of very low standard for shelter. While some of them are on the government's waiting list, the progress of the construction of the houses is slow due to alleged constraints such as lack of fuel and building materials. It is estimated that only a few are going to benefit from the programme compared to the high numbers of households affected by the 'clean up' exercise.

    Red Cross action Emergency Appeal no 05EA016 was launched on 26 July 2006 for CHF 2,481,818 million to provide assistance to 15,000 vulnerable people for a period of five months. It followed the release of CHF 100,000 from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 10 June 2005. With the DREF allocation, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society1 - with support from the Federation - was able to offer in itial assistance by providing relief items to meet th e basic needs of 1,400 vulnerable households within the holding camps in all the provinces. Between May and July 2005, the Red Cross distributed blankets, kitchen sets, soap and jerry cans. It also provided portable toilets for use in transit camps.

    Following the dismantlement of the holding camps in July, the Red Cross continued to ensure the availability of safe drinking water for the affected (by distributing water purification tablets to 1,500 households) and improved hygiene (by conducting hygiene education in the newly designated area of Hatcliffe, Harare). The national society is still constructing five two-bed roomed houses for the identified most needy child-headed vulnerable households. The houses will be ready for occupation by mid-October 2005. Property titles for the land have been granted by the councils concerned. As part of livelihood recovery programme, 1,000 households in rural areas are receiving seeds and fertilizers.

    For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

    In Zimbabwe: Emma Kundishora,
    Secretary General,
    Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, Harare;
    Email: ;
    Phone: +;
    Fax: +

    In Zimbabwe:
    Françoise Le Goff,
    Federation Head of Southern Africa Regional Delegation, Harare;
    Email: i f ;
    Phone: + 55, +;
    Fax: +

    In Geneva: Terry Carney,
    Federation Regional Officer for Southern Africa, Africa Dept.;
    Email: ; Phone: +41.22.730.42.98,
    Fax: +41.22.733.03.95.

    All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at

    1. Zimbabwe Red Cross Society-

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