Zimbabwe + 3 more

CWS Hotline - 29 Sep 2008: Zimbabwe, Cuba, Haiti, USA



With the ban on agencies involved in humanitarian and development work recently lifted in Zimbabwe, long-time Church World Service partner Christian Care is scaling up its response to the food crisis there.

The crisis stems from the collapse of the economy, hyper-inflation, severe food insecurity, an all-time low in the delivery of basic services, and the underlying political atmosphere that has caused the internal displacement of thousands of people. Over 85 percent of the population is unemployed, with almost 90 percent of them subsisting below the poverty line.

The CWS-supported Christian Care program is providing monthly food rations of 10 kg of maize, 600 ml of cooking oil and 2 kg pulses (beans) per person for 26,900 vulnerable people in Gutu and Mwenezi Districts, Masvingo province. The program will last from October of this year to April 2009.

In the Zvishavane District, Midlands province, some 600 farming households will take part in CWS-supported agricultural recovery training. In 2009-10, the number of participating households will increase to 900.

These vulnerable farmers will be rebuilding their production capacities and adapting to climate change through training in conservation farming, food processing, preservation and storage. The recovery component will require 12 months to allow time for households to learn and adopt the new innovations.

Each household participating in the program will receive 10 kg of maize seed and 100 kg of fertilizers and will work on two plots, each measuring 50 meters by 50 meters, one for conservation farming and another one for conventional farming. With the two plots, the farmers can observe differences in results from conservation and conventional farming techniques.

Cuba and Haiti

Recovery efforts continue in both Cuba and Haiti following hurricanes Gustav and Ike earlier this month. In Cuba, CWS partners report that at least 9 million people were affected by the storms, with the worst impact being on homes: more than 444,000 houses were damaged, and more than 63,000 houses were completely destroyed.

Meanwhile, assessing the situation in neighboring Haiti, Lorenzo Mota King, the director of long-time CWS partner Servicio Social de Iglesias Dominicanas in the Dominican Republic said this week that the situation in northwestern Haiti remains poor. "The picture is devastating," he said. "Mud is everywhere, with water and mud having destroyed homes and farm fields. And I imagine it is far worse in the areas where we could not visit."

In Haiti, Church World Service has provided a rapid response grant to partner Christian Center for Integrated Development, for immediate relief efforts. CWS has also provided CWS Blankets and CWS Hygiene and Baby Kits for affected families.

In Cuba, CWS is supporting efforts of Action by Churches Together members to assist some 5,000 families with food and CWS Hygiene Kits, 2,000 families with psycho-social care, and 1,000 families with agricultural tools, seeds and fertilizer. CWS is also providing 600 lightweight CWS Blankets, Hygiene Kits, Baby Kits, and medicine boxes for use by CWS partner in Cuba, Iglesia Bando Evangelico Gedeon.

U.S. hurricane recovery

Recovery efforts also continue for U.S. communities affected by hurricanes and flooding in recent weeks. CWS Emergency Response Specialists met with partners in Louisiana and Texas this week to provide emergency response resources and guidance, and plan for training and support where needed. CWS resources local recovery organizations focused on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable individuals and families. Contributions to CWS hurricane recovery assistance in the U.S. may be made online.

Hurricane response has depleted the CWS inventory of CWS Emergency Clean-up Buckets, Hygiene Kits, and Baby Kits, needed for people displaced by recent storms. For information on how to make the Kits and where to send them, visit www.churchworldservice.org/kits.