Caritas responds to Zimbabwe crisis

In the face of a continuing economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is contributing $50,000 to much needed water supply and sanitation improvements in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city.

The city of 1.5 million faces acute water shortages. Households are getting 6 litres of water per person a day, instead of the minimum of 15 litres required by international standards.

"According to reports from our Caritas partners there, people are being forced to get water from unprotected sources such as shallow wells, streams, and burst water and sewerage pipes," says Caritas Director Mike Smith.

Bulawayo has expanded significantly since 1980 with no corresponding increase in water supply. Droughts since 1992 have also left Bulawayo dams without adequate water.

Mr Smith said the economic crisis in Zimbabwe is affecting provision of water and sanitation. "Because of the difficult political situation, we believe supporting short term water and sanitation work is one of the more effective ways to contribute to positive development in Zimbabwe at this time."

The Caritas-supported project involves construction of bores, supply of household water containers, and training around sanitation, hygiene and long term community management of water holes across 28 urban communities.

The work will be carried out by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and local partner CADEC, the Catholic Development Commission in Bulawayo. CRS is a US-based member of the Caritas Internationalis network which is responding to Zimbabwe's urgent need through a range of development and relief projects in Zimbabwe.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of the 162-member Caritas Internationalis network of Catholic relief, development, and social service organisations working in over 200 countries and territories.

For more information contact Martin de Jong 021 909 688.