Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: March 2008 elections and food crisis

(Extract)

March 2008 Elections

On March 29, 2008 Zimbabweans go to the polls to elect the President, members of parliament and local government leaders. This occurs in the midst of an unprecedented humanitarian disaster with food insecurity, HIV & AIDS and a crisis of governance confronting the current administration.

Despite hopes of improvements in the political environment following negotiations between the ruling party and the opposition under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community, this process alone does not guarantee free and fair elections on March 29, 2008.

Food security crisis: PWS&D responds

A major food crisis is emerging in Zimbabwe where about 4.1 million people require food aid in the first quarter of 2008.

Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D) is providing food aid, small livestock, crop supplies and farmer training to vulnerable households. PWS&D has committed to contribute $20,000 through Action by Churches Together and another $25,000 through Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Please help reach these targets by donating today!

Background

In addition to drought which has affected the southern part of the country, the food crisis is exacerbated by the country's unprecedented economic decline, very high unemployment (80%) and the impact of HIV and AIDS. Inflation is running anywhere from 100,000-150,000 percent. The majority of the population is subsisting below the poverty line of US$1/day. Most basic commodities and services (food, fuel, transport, electricity, health, etc.) are in short supply and are too expensive for ordinary people. The number of orphans and vulnerable children has risen to 1.6 million and is exacerbated by the severe AIDS epidemic.