Malawi + 5 more

Africa in crisis updated Mar 2003

News and Press Release
Originally published
The complex crisis in Africa continues to affect millions throughout the continent. Extended drought and erratic rainfall have caused shortfalls in crop yields increasing food insecurity.
However, the situation has been exponentially complicated by other factors such as chronic poverty, political problems and high HIV/AIDS infection rates. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in particular is a major cause for concern about the future. Southern Africa has the highest HIV/AIDS infection rate in the world: nearly one-third of its population and growing.

"While the worst outcomes are not before our eyes today on CNN, the frailty of the food security situation and the devastation from HIV/AIDS will continue to have a profound impact for at least the next two decades. It is within this context that CRS will continue to invest in rebuilding lives and livelihoods," commented Paul Macek, CRS' Regional Emergency Representative for Southern Africa.

Catholic Relief Services Responds

Southern Africa


  • CRS, in consortium with CARE and World Vision, has begun to implement an innovative regional collaborative response to the current crisis in the three most severely affected countries - Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.

  • The Consortium for the Southern Africa Food Security Emergency program, or C-SAFE as it's more commonly known, represents a new and creative cooperation between international private voluntary organizations and the U.S. government in emergency response. The $114 million program focuses on health and nutrition, agricultural recovery, risk management/disaster preparedness and HIV/AIDS.
U.S. Ambassador Visits CRS Beneficiary Registration
  • In January, U.S. Ambassador, Joseph Sullivan accompanied CRS on a field trip to a CRS project site in Zimbabwe. Ambassador Sullivan visited the Chirikita Center in the Kadoma district to witness a beneficiary registration for the C-SAFE program. The Ambassador routinely visits projects, but this was the first time that he had observed a beneficiary selection.

  • "The Ambassador observed different groups, asked the facilitators and beneficiaries about the situation and about how they were coping and what the next crop yield might be. He was quite impressed with the process and satisfied that the registration took place in an open and transparent manner," said Janet Trucker, CRS' Country Representative for Zimbabwe.
  • Has distributed 18,141 tons (16,457 metric tons) of food to 305,865 beneficiaries.

  • Received approval from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance for $2 million in support of the CoGuard consortium proposal for supplementary feeding programs. Africare is the lead agency in the consortium. CRS and its local partner Cadecom will meet 60 percent of the needs of children under five in three districts in Malawi.

  • Finished a second round of nutritional surveys in December in the Zomba District. A second round began in late January in the Chikwawa District and a third round is planned by UNICEF for April 2003.

  • Received funding from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance for a $650,000 seeds and agricultural recovery program. CRS used the funds to develop and hold seed fairs in seven dioceses in the country. Through seed fairs, vulnerable households in need of seed are given vouchers worth a specific cash value, which they use to purchase seeds from local seed sellers. The sellers in turn, redeem the vouchers for cash from CRS.
  • Has distributed 947 tons (859 metric tons) of food to 140,000 beneficiaries.

  • Has distributed 110 tons (100 metric tons) of seed to 60,000 households.

  • Received $60,000 to purchase 66 tons (60 metric tons) of beans for distribution in the Shangombo District.

  • Conducted a nutritional assessment of children between six months and five years of age in the Shangombo District. Data on vaccination status, chronic illness, water and food sources, and sanitation facilities was gathered.

  • Designed, in cooperation with the Diocese of Livingstone, a Food-For-Work program to meet immediate food needs while encouraging farmers to adopt drought-mitigating conservation farming methods. CRS is also working with the Diocese to distribute government commodities to those in need.

  • Designed a drought mitigation and agricultural recovery project.
  • Has distributed 1,720 tons (1,560 metric tons) of food to 143,799 beneficiaries through the World Food Programme (WFP) and C-SAFE programs.

  • Has distributed 412 tons (374 metric tons) of seed to 32,099 households.

  • Received nearly $1.1 million dollars from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance to fund agriculture and nutrition programming.

  • Held three seed fairs at the end of January in the Murehwa district and two seed fairs in February in the Chikwawa area. Additional seed fairs were conducted during the first week of March 2003. The seed fairs are being funded by a grant from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

  • Distributed 165 tons (150 metric tons) of fertilizer in the Makoni district.

  • Is distributing food to the Zimbabwe Association of Church-related Hospitals (ZACH). ZACH hospitals account for 45 percent of all hospital beds (68 percent of all rural hospital beds) in Zimbabwe and are situated in every Province of the country. CRS recently began working with an additional 36 ZACH hospitals. To date, CRS has distributed 473 (429 metric tons) of food to 60,000 people through ZACH hospital feedings.

  • Conducted nutritional training sessions at hospitals in Mutero, Silveria, Moregenster, Matibi, Chikombedzi and at the Gutu Mission Hospital.
  • In response to a drought in the south, is distributing corn-soya blend and oil to more than 30,000 people daily in the Diocese of Tolagnaro.

  • Is providing growth monitoring, nutrition and health education, deworming, vaccines and Vitamin A for malnourished children and pregnant and lactating women.

  • Will implement a Food-For-Work program in partnership with WFP, which will offer family food rations to more than 35,000 adults who will work on rehabilitating a local road.
Eastern Africa


  • CRS is the lead agency among a consortium of humanitarian aid organizations working together through the Joint Emergency Operation Plan (JEOP) to distribute food resources to 1,748,670 beneficiaries in Ethiopia. In this capacity, CRS will administer food aid distributions to vulnerable populations within the country. In December, CRS began sending 24,030 tons (21,800 metric tons) of food to JEOP distribution sites where it is being given to needy populations within the country.

  • The U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance granted CRS $1.7 million for seed distribution and other activities to complement food distributions in Ethiopia.
  • Efforts are underway in Eritrea to secure food aid for beneficiaries in the Northern Debub region of the country.

  • Planning is underway for the distribution of seeds and the rehabilitation of wells and water points.

A number of natural and man-made factors have converged to create a food crisis in Africa. More than 38 million people are in grave danger of starvation. Drought, floods, government policies, and HIV/AIDS have combined to create a situation that poses a serious threat to the both the short-term and the long-term health of the people of Africa.

In response, CRS along with other humanitarian relief organizations, the UN World Food Program and the U.S. Agency for International Development recently launched "Africa in Crisis", a global campaign to help those facing starvation on the African continent. CRS has been working in Africa for 56 years and is resolutely committed to averting another famine on the continent.

Your support is needed.

Donations can also be made by calling: 1-800-736-3467
or by sending checks to:
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, Maryland 21203-7090.

Copyright=A92003 CRS