Kudakwashe Matambo – Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu of Harare, who is also President of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC), on Thursday, addressed a press conference, at the Africa Synod House, in the country’s capital, Harare. During the press event, Archbishop Ndlovu said that the country’s Catholic Bishops had renewed their appeal for urgent food aid meant for the country’s nearly eight (8) million people who could starve due to a poor harvest. The country’s drought situation and the general economic meltdown are some of the significant factors that have led to food insecurity.
8 million Zimbabweans require food relief in 2020
Outlining the Bishops’ appeal to journalists, Archbishop Ndlovu confirmed the World Food Programme’s report which estimated that nearly eight million people would require food aid in 2020 as the country faces severe food shortages.
The Archbishop further said the food insecurity is already affecting not only rural but urban communities, school-going children, newly born babies, mothers and refugees.
“This food insecurity will affect urban and rural communities. Millions of school-going children, refugees, and the poor will suffer from the severe effects of this drought,” said the Harare prelate, adding, “Our health coordinators in our hospitals are telling us that (already) some of the newly born babies instantly show signs of not being healthy. Their mothers too, because they (probably) eat only once a day and as a result may not produce enough breast milk for the babies and that will affect the development and growth of that child,” said the Archbishop.
The food appeal is for all Zimbabweans
The Bishops are targeting to raise over US 1 million dollars for the initial response programme, which will be administered to all people, without exception, through Caritas Zimbabwe.
“Our appeal and response is on behalf of the people of every race, culture, gender and religion in Zimbabwe who are and will soon be in dire need.” He continued, “Our goal is to mobilise sufficient food aid for us to make a difference to the lives of the many millions who face starvation, including children, women and those living with HIV/AIDS,” said Archbishop Ndlovu.
The Archbishop further revealed that through the Zimbabwe Bishops’ Caritas Appeal, the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe had so far received over US 200 000 dollars and distribution to needy areas was presently underway.
Church's ongoing response to Cyclon Idai emergency
Speaking at the same press conference, the Bishop of Mutare Diocese, Paul Horan, took the opportunity to brief the media about the Church’s efforts in responding to the Cyclone Idai emergency of 2019. Among some of the Diocese’s major projects is the ongoing construction of houses that collapsed due to torrential rains that came with Cyclon Idai.