12 March 2010Aid agencies in Zimbabwe are appealing to donors to support the $378 million appeal launched last December to support humanitarian and early recovery efforts in the country, the United Nations humanitarian wing reported today. “Lack of funding at this crucial time could derail progress made between the latter part of 2009 and now,” warned the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which noted that the 2010 Consolidated Appeal is just over 2 per cent funded. Zimbabwe has been plagued by widespread humanitarian suffering in recent years, driven in part by long-running political strife. When the appeal was launched in December 2009, some 6 million people in the country did not have access to safe water and sanitation due to the erosion of basic services. Livelihoods were also threatened by the prolonged economic downturn. “There is need for vigilance as the humanitarian situation is still precarious and prone to sudden shocks,” OCHA said, adding that the available funding is insufficient to address the country’s humanitarian needs.The Office reported that the dry spell in parts of the Southern African nation from mid-December 2009 to last month has raised concerns for food security. Meanwhile, over 70 cases of cholera, including one death, have been reported in a new outbreak that began in early February. During the same period in 2009, there were nearly 75,790 cases and 3,612 deaths in the outbreak that started in August 2008.In addition, the number of deaths related to a measles outbreak more than doubled, rising to 110 by the end of February, compared to 50 at the end of January.