|UMCOR launches new response to Zimbabwe crisis|
Workers with ZOE Ministry deliver food supplies in Zimbabwe. UMCOR is using the ministry as one avenue to respond to a severe food shortage in the African nation.
A UMNS photo courtesy of ZOE Ministry.
A UMNS Report
By Michelle Scott*
Dec. 12, 2008
The United Methodist Committee on Relief has launched a multi-pronged plan to respond to the dire humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.
A severe food shortage and cholera epidemic, combined with the world’s highest inflation rate of more than 2 million percent, has created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.
Greg Jenks, director of the Zimbabwe Orphans Endeavor, stirs porridge for children at a mission center outside of Mutare in this 2007 photo.
A UMNS file photo by Linda Green.
An immediate distribution of food and additional support for United Methodist hospitals will begin to alleviate the suffering of thousands of people in the days ahead. Providing clean water in Nyadire and additional long-term projects are part of UMCOR’s future plans in the African nation.
"We are so pleased to work with (United Methodist) Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa to bring substantial assistance to our sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe," said the Rev. Sam Dixon, UMCOR’s top executive, of the relief agency's latest efforts.
UMCOR is purchasing and delivering 100 metric tons of grain through ZOE Ministry, a program of the church's North Carolina Annual Conference. The food delivery will begin the week of Dec. 15 and will go to all 12 United Methodist districts in Zimbabwe— reaching more than 1,200 households and 11,000 primary school students.
The grain will provide each person with an additional meal for 65 days. This is much-needed relief in an economy where a loaf of bread can cost half of one’s monthly salary.
UMCOR is working with the Zimbabwe Conference to secure documentation that will allow UMCOR to directly purchase, import and distribute food supplies. UMCOR has 400 metric tons of maize ready to be delivered as soon as these documents are secured.
Help for the sick
While the country’s largest hospitals are closing in the midst of a growing cholera epidemic, United Methodist institutions are keeping their doors open to treat those in need regardless of their ability to pay.
Nhiwatiwa met with Zimbabwe’s minister of health on Dec. 9 to express the church’s desire to provide assistance in response to the epidemic. "We were so pleased to learn that through this meeting the minister of health has not only recognized the epidemic, but also given full support for UMCOR health’s efforts," Dixon said.
UMCOR is shoring up United Methodist hospitals to enable them to better cope with the worsening health situation and the cholera crisis in particular. Special cholera kits are en route to Nyadire and Mutambara that will allow the hospitals to effectively treat 2,600 people sick with the treatable but deadly illness.
Additional funds will provide food, supplies and fuel for hospital generators. UMCOR is also making up for portions of staff salaries that have been lost due to the country’s economic collapse.
A shipment of 14,000 school kits and 35 medicine boxes are en route and expected to arrive in Zimbabwe in February to further support the hospitals' work.
UMCOR is working with the denomination’s Western Pennsylvania Conference to rebuild and rehabilitate water services and equipment for Nyadire Hospital and surrounding areas.
Poor water quality and sanitation facilities are the main causes of cholera. The project is expected to greatly improve the health and quality of life for those living in the Nyadire area—approximately 500,000 people.
To bring healing and hope to Zimbabwe, UMCOR asks that financial gifts be sent to Zimbabwe Emergency, UMCOR Advance #199456, to support its general response. Gifts to Hospital Revitalization, UMCOR Advance #982168, will specifically support United Methodist hospitals.
Donors can make contributions through local United Methodist churches or mail checks to UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. Write the Advance name and number on the check memo line. For credit card donations, visit UMCOR's Web site at www.umcor.org for online giving information or call (800) 554-8583.
*Scott is the executive secretary for UMCOR communications.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or email@example.com.
AIDS Orphan Endeavor
U.S. says Zimbabwe cholera outbreak worsening
UMCOR assists local partner for Zimbabwe aid
USAID provides additional $6.2M for cholera outbreak
CNN.com: UK dismisses Mugabe's claim that Zimbabwe cholera crisis is over
ZOE helps AIDS orphans support families
Board of Global Ministries