Cases of gender-based violence (GBV) rose sharply in Zimbabwe in 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown with the national GBV hotline recording a 200% increase.
In a recent situation update, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said between January and September 2020 a total of 5 507 GBV cases were reported through the national GBV hotline.
“Zimbabwe saw a sharp increase in protection concerns during the COVID-19 lockdown, including gender-based violence,” OCHA said in its update.
“From January to September 2020, 5 507 GBV cases were reported through the national GBV hotline, a 200% increase compared with the same time-frame in 2019, when 1,930 GBV cases were reported through the hotline.”
OCHA added distressed households were reporting increased use of negative coping mechanisms including child labour, early marriage and transactional sex, while economic challenges are creating barriers for children’s return to education, especially for girls.
“Children have been uniquely impacted by the combination of climatic shocks, economic challenges and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Over 4.6 million children in Zimbabwe lost access to education and the protective environment provided in schools due to the pandemic, while over 1.7 million school children lost access to school feeding programmes. The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe has caused a decrease in quality dietary habits while access to nutrition services has been disrupted.
“However, despite relatively good rains, nearly 3.4 million people in rural areas are projected to face Crisis or Emergency food insecurity at the peak of the 2020/2021 lean season (January-March) and 2.3 million people in urban communities are estimated to be food insecure in 2021,” it added.
According to the 2020 rural Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC), households saw an average 51.5 per cent reduction in income in 2020 compared to 2019, mainly due to Covid-19.