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06/06 • ZIMBABWE

  • June 6, 2024

The Impact of El Niño on Zimbabwe 


Zimbabwe is currently grappling with a severe drought, exacerbated by the ongoing El Niño phenomenon. An estimated six million people are expected to be food insecure during the 2024-2025 lean season. The drought has led to partial or complete crop failure across most parts of the country, severely impacting food and nutrition security. El Niño, characterised by the warming of sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, has historically disrupted climatic patterns in Zimbabwe, resulting in prolonged dry spells, reduced rainfall, and increased temperatures. The 2023/2024 farming season has been particularly devastating, with widespread crop failures and water shortages.

Water insecurity is also a significant concern, with 2.6 million people at risk due to the compounded effects of the drought and pre-existing inadequate water services.

Health and nutrition are severely affected, with children under five, pregnant, and breastfeeding women being particularly vulnerable due to their higher nutritional needs. The current cholera outbreak, linked to poor water, hygiene, and sanitation services, has further exacerbated the health crisis, with over 31,000 cases and nearly 600 deaths reported as of April 2024. The drought is expected to increase the incidence of infectious diseases, including diarrhoeal diseases and malaria.

Social vulnerabilities are also heightened, with an increased risk of gender-based violence (GBV), child marriages, and school dropouts. The drought's impact on livelihoods has led to increased family tensions, contributing to domestic violence and intimate partner violence. Rural communities, heavily reliant on rain-fed agriculture, are facing severe economic hardships, leading to irregular migration and human trafficking risks.

The Anglican church in Zimbabwe is responding to the humanitarian needs and aims to implement several initiatives, including supplementary school feeding programmes, sustainable livelihood projects, climate change awareness in schools, and capacity building for church leaders to further strengthen their disaster response capability. These efforts are intended to mitigate the drought's impacts, promote community resilience, and address the immediate and long-term needs of affected populations.

 

Prayer points: 

Provision and relief for the people of Zimbabwe who are suffering from severe drought, hunger, and water shortages. Ask for the necessary resources to reach those in need, and for successful implementation of relief efforts by organisations like the Anglican Council of Zimbabwe.

Strength and resilience for the communities in Zimbabwe, and for the empowerment of church leaders and organisations to respond effectively to the disaster. Ask for wisdom in creating sustainable solutions to build long-term resilience against future droughts, and for peace and hope to fill the hearts of all those affected. 
Health and protection of all affected by the drought, especially vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women, and the elderly and for the spread of diseases like cholera and malaria to be controlled. Pray for strength and support for the aid workers and healthcare workers dealing with these crises.


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