South Africa

Funding appeals and humanitarian action updates

The humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe is increasingly taking on a regional dimension.  The outbreak of cholera which started in Zimbabwe is now spreading to neighboring countries.  In South Africa, the first case was registered on 15 November in Musina town in Limpopo Province situated 15 km from the Zimbabwe border.  Since November, cholera has spread to all nine provinces in South Africa; the most affected being the province of Limpopo, which has recorded 664 out of a total of 721 cases in the country. 

At the same time, a wider humanitarian crisis continues to unfold in the region. Children form part of the increasing number of migrant flows into South Africa.  Access to basic social services is limited, and they are exposed to abuse and exploitation.

On 11 December 2008, the Government of South Africa declared the Vhembe district (where Musina town is situated) a disaster area.  UNICEF and its partners, including WHO and other sister UN agencies and international and national non-governmental organizations, are working closely together in order to respond swiftly and effectively to the crisis.  UNICEF requires US$1,400,000 to meet the immediate needs of children and women throughout the affected areas in the sectors of water, sanitation and hygiene, education (including early childhood development), and child protection.
South Africa Immediate Needs 16 Dec 2008 [pdf]

In May 2008, violence broke out in the Alexandra Township (Johannesburg metropolitan area) when angry mobs attacked foreign nationals and non-Zulu speaking locals. Several homes were burned.  Attacks were also reported in the East Rand townships of Tembisa, Thokoza and Primrose and Johannesburg.  In total 62 people were killed and at least 40,000 foreigners fled their homes seeking refuge at police stations, churches, community centres and other shelters.

The UN has been supporting provincial and municipal authorities to conduct regular inter-sectoral rapid assessments to determine the humanitarian situation and to identify the needs and response gaps.  Based on these assessments, UN agencies mounted a coordinated joint UN and NGOs assistance to the Government of South Africa within the framework of the cluster approach. This assistance has consisted of material support, technical guidance and partner coordination working within a set of agreed guiding frameworks including Sphere, Code of Conduct, and Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

While the number of people displaced by the xenophobic violence has steadily reduced since the peak of the crisis at the end of May 2008, there is a need to support the South African government in the reintegration process. UNICEF, together with other humanitarian partners, is working closely with the Government of South Africa to respond to the humanitarian crisis in the areas of Health and Nutrition; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; Education and Child Protection.  With a requirement of US$525,000, an initial emergency response is planned for three months, supporting some 8,556 displaced in 53 shelter sites in three provinces.
South Africa Immediate Needs August 2008 [pdf]



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