Caritas Asks $7M to Keep Zimbabwe From Starving

Half of Population Surviving on Aid

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HARARE, Zimbabwe, JAN. 9, 2009 ( The international Caritas organization is launching a $7 million campaign following reports that people in nine of every 10 Zimbabwe homes are going hungry.

The organization estimates that half of Zimbabwe’s population — 5 million of the nation’s 10 million people — are relying on food aid for survival. With its appeal, Caritas plans to provide aid for about a quarter of a million of them.

The agency explained that the situation of starvation has been made worse by a growing cholera epidemic, which has taken the lives of 1,700 people, with 36,000 more cases reported.

Caritas’ plan is to provide monthly food rations to 164,000 people, get a midday meal to 88,800 school children, and give farming training in 4,600 homes. Caritas will give 16,000 homes access to clean water and provide 5,000 people with basic health care.

Caritas Internationalis Secretary-General Lesley-Anne Knight said, «People will die in Zimbabwe unless they receive urgent humanitarian assistance. At least 5 million people need food aid but many more are going hungry. The high mortality from cholera indicates an extreme international emergency.

«Caritas will provide food aid to a quarter of a million of the most vulnerable people through this appeal. We will also provide homes with clean water to prevent the spread of cholera. The people of Zimbabwe desperately need our solidarity during this human tragedy.»

Deaths from starvation have already been reported and Caritas expects the situation to worsen as the hungry season peaks from January to March. Caritas has reported 200 cases of children fainting at school due to lack of food.

The Caritas appeal will target the most vulnerable people in Zimbabwe such as women- and child-headed households, children, the sick and the elderly.

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