For several months, we have been monitoring a situation of drought and food shortage in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Climate change in that region means temperatures are rising, water has become increasingly scarce, and harvests have failed.
The situation has escalated and we are now responding to this food crisis with emergency aid. Our local aid experts are supporting the worst-affected communities.
We have so far committed over £160,000 to the emergency response.
This currently includes delivering emergency food aid to the people in greatest need, through our Church network, and creating access to safe, clean water through new pipelines, boreholes and water points.
In alerting you to this situation this week, I am conscious that any day now, you will receive your Lent Fast Day pack – if you haven’t done so already.
By chance, Lent Fast Day will feature healthcare work from Zimbabwe.
As you know, it is your giving at Fast Days that allows our work across the world to continue, enabling people to provide for themselves and be more resilient. This work is as crucial as ever.
So we are asking you to still prioritise our Fast Day appeal collection this Lent, to ensure that our ongoing work is still secure. It is crucially important.
If, in addition to organising the Family Fast Day collection, you think your parish might also be able to respond to this emergency you can find out more at cafod.org.uk/Southern-Africa-food-crisis and order posters and emergency collection envelopes at cafod.org.uk/Fundraise/Parish-fundraising.
Churches throughout England and Wales are holding urgent parish collections this January for the Zimbabwe and Zambia food crisis. If you can too, your donations to this appeal will allow us to scale up aid distributions as more families struggle to survive over the coming months.
We will continue to update you on the situation. We hope and pray it will not escalate further, but for now, we are alerting you, as your official Catholic agency, to its current severity, and our response so far.
Thank you, as always, for your consistently generous support of all our work, and please do join us in holding the people of Zimbabwe and Zambia in your prayers.
You can donate to the emergency appeal here.