Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: We need corn, beans and medicine!

"The situation is getting worse every day", says Wolfgang Nierwetberg, CEO of HELP.
Daily other help seeking people arrive at the mission. Totally exhausted mothers with babys who are entirely emaciated. "Most of the babies are even unable to cry anymore. They only whimper yet." "I haven't got milk to give anymore", a mother worries. "The harvest was poor, we even had to eat our seeds. In our village everyone is hungry."

Mother and child - only two of 14 million people in the south of Africa being threatened by famine. Empty grain depots, bleak fields, haggard people. It is the most devastating disaster afflicting the region ever. Crop failure aroused by torrential rain and followed by ongoing aridity is to blame. The foot and mouth disease appearing last year and the violent banishment of white farmers aggravated the situation dramatically. Only until the end of the year 700.000 tons of urgent supplies are necessary for the starving people in Zimbabwe to survive. On every day, worldwide, 18.000 girls and boys under the age of five die, because of hunger and undernourishment. Also in Zimbabwe there is threatening a famine. Yet, the starving have to eat roots and leafs. Of course that is not enough, but it fills the stomach at least. Right now HELP is catering for about 3000 families distributing food and seeds. But there are so many more hungry people waiting for urgent help.

We want to extend our help to 10.000 families. With a donation of 50 Euros we are able to cater for five families during one month with corn, beans and edible oil.

HELP's declaration at the Press Conference of 27 November 2002 concerning the alarming situation in Southern Africa

With the press conference of ADH on the 27th of November 2002 in Berlin, 9 German relief organizations started a centralized fundraising campaign concerning the needy population in Southern Africa. On this occasion, Wolfgang Nierwetberg, CEO of HELP, made the following statement during a live telephone conference:

As we predicted some months ago, the food situation in Zimbabwe deteriorates dramatically. Today thousands of mothers don't know what they shall give their children to eat the next day. A few relief organizations did already shorten the rations of nutrition to be able to give more people at least a bit.

At the moment HELP on its own is catering for about ten thousands of indigeneous people in Matabeleland. During every distribution more people are waiting than rations are available. The pressure on our staff being not able to help everyone is extreme.

Apart basic food HELP also distributes more than 100.000 seed packets to enable at least a few hungry people to produce food themselves. For this reason we are hoping, that at least a small part of the population will become independent from further relief assistance after the next harvest in March. In fact it is a drop in the ocean, but may be as every grain grows the hope for a better future will increase as well.

But I should better come down to earth. Also in the next year Zimbabwe won't be able to feed its population. Corruption, mismanagement and the chaotic, entirely failed land reform ruined the country's economy. And again , it's the peaceful and the very kind Zimbabwean people, who have to pay the price.