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The United Nations has launched its 2010 Consolidated Appeal Process for humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe.
Speaking at the launch, U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Catherine Bragg, said the money asked for is much less than the $719 million requested for this year.
"The CAP 2010 already outlines lesser needs than any other CAP launched in Zimbabwe," said Catherine Bragg. "At a total of $378 million, almost 50 percent less than the year before."
Brag, who is also the U.N. Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, said the reduction in money requested means the humanitarian situation is improving in Zimbabwe. But she cautioned the situation is still fragile and the needs are still "astonishingly high".
"Despite improvement in food security, an estimated 1.9 million people will need food assistance at the peak of the 2010 hunger season between January and March," she said. "Cholera has re-emerged in October and the HIV prevalence rate is one of the highest, still, in the world, despite a recent drop to 13.7 percent."
She added that 1.2 million people live with the virus and more than a quarter of those need anti-retroviral treatment. Millions of Zimbabweans still do not have access to safe drinking water. A third of children under five are malnourished and seven percent of these suffer from acute malnutrition. The education sector also needs massive support.
Bragg noted that unlike last year, when food aid made up the bulk of the appeal, the situation is different this year with food fourth on the list of needs. She said this is due to an improved harvest this year.
Agriculture takes up almost a third of the sum requested, an indication Bragg said that the country is moving from humanitarian crisis to recovery.
A statement issued at the launch says political changes in Zimbabwe have positively affected socio-economic conditions. After years of political and economic turmoil, Zimbabwe has experienced a level of stability since the coming to power of a national unity government in February.