Caritas Australia Responds To Zimbabwe Food Crisis

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Caritas Australia, one of the world’s largest humanitarian aid agencies is responding to the food crisis in Zimbabwe. The crisis is acute with as many as 4.5 million people or nearly one third of the country’s population starving. Sister Ivy Khoury who is the Africa Program Coordinator for Caritas Australia says the crisis is severe. Many people have suffered for many years and it has not just been because of drought but also because of an outbreak of cholera because the country does not have safe drinking water or sanitation infrastructure.

“Even though people are suffering, they live with hope and believe that their lives will improve with the assistance of Caritas Australia.”

Seeking to provide food security

The emergency relief program run by Caritas Australia seeks to provide food security for Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable people, by delivering food, providing school meals and financial support to as many as 100 households. Sister Ivy says that the school feeding program delivers nutritious daily meals to hundreds of children. Financial support allows recipients to buy food for their families as well as seeds which they can plant in their gardens.

Working with local partners

Caritas Australia is also supporting three development programmes in Zimbabwe, with the dioceses of Gweru, Hwange and Gokwe. These programs are designed to give people access to safe and nutritious food, water and sanitation. The programme also helps to train members of the community on how to generate income. The recent completion of a water canal in Zimbabwe’s western region of Hwange is a joint venture between Caritas staff and people who live in the region. The project has empowered members of the community to improve their lives.

 “It’s exciting to see people, that when people who didn’t have water, now have water,” Sister Ivy said.  “When you see the strength and enthusiasm of the people, that’s what gives you hope for the future.”

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