Catholic Bishops launch campaign to raise US$9M for relief food

By Staff Reporter

Catholic bishops in Zambia have launched a campaign to raise over US$9 million for relief food for areas hit by drought and floods during the 2018/2019 farming season.

Making the announcement recently, Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) Bishop Director for Caritas Zambia Rev. Evans Chinyemba warned that if the hunger situation was not addressed, people could soon starve to death in the affected areas.

Bishop Evans Chinyemba said the hunger situation was bad compounded by water problems in the areas hit with drought in the southern part of the Zambia.

“To fully comprehend the hunger situation in the country, the Catholic Church through Caritas Zambia working with Diocesan partners gathered information from the affected households using community interviews, focus groups, direct observation and household field visitation in the affected areas. Aware that the hungry people are vulnerable and easily manipulated leading to loss of dignity and having analysed reports of the hunger situation in Southern, Central, western, Eastern, Luapula and other parts of the country, we would like to inform the nation of our concerns as well as to make an earnest appeal.”

 “Listening to the Word of God inspires us to be instruments of justice, peace and love in order to spread this love to all people especially those who are currently suffering from hunger and lack of clean water,” Bishop Chinyemba said.

Bishop Chinyemba said that some households did not have enough food to take them through until next year.

“Southern, Western and some parts of Eastern, Central and Lusaka provinces experienced total crop failure. This means that households in these areas did not harvest anything that would help to sustain their livelihoods up to the next agricultural season. There are 50 districts affected by this situation and households are currently already experiencing serious hunger,” he said.

“According to the vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) under DMMU (Disaster Management and Mitigation Unity), a total of 418,969 households were affected by the dry spell hazard. In the places visited by the Catholic Church agents, 79 per cent of the crops were affected by drought, 13 per cent by floods while four per cent were affected by both drought and floods.”

Bishop Chinyemba also said that water supply to the people and livestock had been affected by the adverse rainfall.

Bishop Chinyemba said evidence of widespread food distribution to all these people is missing.

“In places where this is happening, the amount of food given is so little that households are failing to meet their food requirements,” he said.

 Bishop Chinyemba further asked politicians to avoid taking advantage of people’s desperation, and asked the government to declare a hunger disaster.

“Government of the Republic of Zambia must consider declaring the hunger situation in some parts of the country as a disaster,” Bishop Chinyemba said.