What was the situation in Zimbabwe before coronavirus hit?
Prior to the onset of coronavirus, Zimbabwe was already facing a humanitarian emergency due to successive droughts and extreme weather compounded by economic collapse. More than six million people are facing severe hunger.
How did the Zimbabwean government respond to coronavirus?
Zimbabwe, in line with many countries around the world, responded to coronavirus with the introduction of a 21-day lockdown, which was extended for a further two weeks up to 3 May.
However, in Zimbabwe there are no furlough schemes and social safety nets were already fraying and strained to capacity.
More than 80 per cent of people in Zimbabwe survive in the informal work sector. With the lockdown informal trading has largely ceased, leaving millions with no source of income.
What has happened to food prices?
The price of basic foods has spiked, with the staple ‘mealie-meal’ (maize meal) increasing in price by over a third in the first week of the lockdown and shortages reported in many areas.
This follows months of hyperinflation where food costs were rising out of reach for many families.
Zimbabwe imports much of its food from neighbouring South Africa, which is also in lockdown, and therefore prices are likely to continue to rise as availability decreases – pushing more people in to hunger.
Source: Verity Johnson, CAFOD’s representative for Zimbabwe