Zimbabwe: Caritas issues urgent appeal for aid

 The Catholic Church's humanitarian operations in Zimbabwe are under threat due to a lack of funding that could put tens of thousands of people at risk, Caritas Internationalis, the global network of Catholic relief and development agencies, has warned.

Although Caritas launched an appeal for USD7 million in January to help a quarter of a million people avoid starvation, provide health care, and clean water to 16,000 homes, only 50 percent of the appeal has been met so far. Due to the lack of funding, Caritas Zimbabwe has only been able to place food orders for two months

"Zimbabweans face hunger and disease. They urgently need more resources to ensure they receive food over the next six months. They are the innocent victims of the collapse of Zimbabwe. The world cannot abandon us as we face this tragedy, Caritas Zimbabwe director Cornelius Hamadziripi said.

The gap in funding comes just as optimism is beginning to be felt in Zimbabwe following the power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC party.

"Before, one crisis followed another crisis, leaving people with no breathing space. The new deal addresses some of the political challenges that we face and we hope people support the agreement inside and outside Zimbabwe, Hamadziripi said.

The Caritas appeal would provide monthly food rations for 164,212 people to prevent them suffering from malnutrition and death. Caritas will provide 88,841 children at school with a daily midday meal. Some 4,607 homes will receive training in farming to improve their own ability to grow crops.

Health centres will be given supplementary feeding along with essential drugs. Caritas will provide basic health care for 5000 people. Caritas staff will rehabilitate water points, build toilets, distribute aqua tablets and promote education on Cholera prevention to provide 16,000 homes with clean water.

Source: CISA

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