LUSAKA, Zambia (CNS) — Zambia’s bishops have launched a campaign to raise $9 million for food to be distributed in remote parts of the country hit by drought and floods.
Many households “have nothing to eat and are surviving on wild fruits or are getting by without any food,” Bishop Evans Chinyemba of Mongu told a June 19 media briefing in the capital, Lusaka.
“This will certainly compromise the nutrition and health status of most people, especially the children, and if nothing is urgently done, we may begin to experience deaths from hunger,” he said.
Government statistics show nearly 419,000 households affected by the lack of rain in Zambia and, in the places visited by church representatives, “79% of the crops were affected by drought, 13% by floods, while 4% were affected by both drought and floods,” he said.
People are “suffering from hunger and lack of clean water” and some households do not have enough food to see them through the rest of the year, said Bishop Chinyemba, who is the bishops’ director for Caritas Zambia and whose diocese is one of the worst-affected areas.
Zambia’s “Southern, Western and some parts of Eastern, Central and Lusaka provinces experienced total crop failure,” the bishop said. “Households in these areas did not harvest anything that would help them to sustain their livelihoods up to the next agricultural season” and are already experiencing serious hunger, he said.
There are reports from Gwembe district in southern Zambia “that people are sharing water with animals,” Bishop Chinyemba said.
The church gathered information from affected households through interviews, observation and other means, he said.
There is no evidence that the government is offering enough food aid to affected areas, he said, noting that in places where food is being distributed, the amount “is so little that households are failing to meet their food requirements.”
The bishops’ conference, through Caritas Zambia and other church relief agencies, aims to alleviate the situation through targeting 42,000 households “in dire need of help,” he said.
Bishop Chinyemba appealed to the government to speed up help by declaring the hunger situation in parts of the country a disaster; he urged politicians not to take advantage of people’s desperation for food.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Christian community a place of welcome, solidarity, pope says
NEXT: Bishops in Central African Republic warn of cycle of violence from gangs
Share this story