ACT Alert Zimbabwe 1/ 2001: Drought and floods cause food shortages

Geneva, 11 May, 2001
Most parts of Zimbabwe faced a dry spell at the beginning of the rain season especially during the month of January after most of the planted crop had germinated. The dry spell wilted most of the young crop putting Zimbabwe's food security position in further jeopardy given the country's rapid economic decline from the current unstable political situation. Then in February and March, unexpected heavy rains pounded most of the country causing floods especially in the Northern parts of the country. The Zambezi basin areas of Mzarabani, Dande, and Guruve districts were worst affected mainly due to the proximity to the Zambezi river and the back flow of water from the Cahosa Bassa dam in Mozambique. It was reported that an estimated 11,000 people were forced to flee their homes, 30,000 hectares of crops were destroyed, roads and bridges were extensively damaged and for several weeks some of the places were only accessible by helicopter. The Zimbabwe government appealed for US$2.4million in emergency aid.

The two main ACT members in Zimbabwe, Christian Care (CC) and the Lutheran Development Service (LDS) are proposing to respond to the needs of the affected people. The Christian Care proposes to respond in five regions; Mashonaland, Midlands, Matebeleland, Manicaland and Masvingo and their main areas of response would be; relief food, nutrition, water and sanitation, and shelter. The Lutheran Development Service would like to provide; relief food through food for work, and also school feeding programs in Masvingo, Midlands, and Matebele South. Both organizations were in last year's appeal responding to the major floods disaster that affected the entire Southern African region.

An appeal is under preparation for this proposed response, and we would appreciate your indications in supporting it. The appeal target is likely to be around US$3 million.

Thank you for your attention.

ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland