British Methodists respond to crisis in Zimbabwe

By agency reporter
April 19, 2008

In the face of growing political instability and desperate food shortages in Zimbabwe, The Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) is supporting an appeal through ACT International (Action by Churches Together) that will distribute emergency food supplies to vulnerable households.

Over 4 million people need food immediately, British Methodists point out. Reports from Zimbabwe paint a picture of desperation, with some families cooking leaves they had previously considered poisonous. Although they have found ways of draining them that make them safer, people are still getting sick.

The current crisis has been worsened by Zimbabwe’s growing HIV/AIDS problem, says MRDF, together with inflation levels that are spiralling out of control – currently the highest in the world.

As well as distributing food, the Methodist appeal, through ACT International, will also provide home-based care kits for those looking after people with HIV/AIDS, supplementary vitamins for those with HIV/AIDS and support and counselling for AIDS orphans, who often face malnutrition because of lack of food, illness and stigma. People who have lost their livelihoods will be given small livestock for food and to help generate incomes.

Kirsty Smith, MRDF Director, said: “The crisis in Zimbabwe has left millions of people without the means to feed themselves. By supporting this appeal, we hope to alleviate some of the suffering and give them a way of generating income in the future.”

Donations to MRDF’s appeal for Zimbabwe can be made by debit or credit card on 020 7224 4814, or by cheque, payable to “MRDF (Zimbabwe emergency)”, posted to MRDF, Methodist Church House, 25 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5JR.

UK taxpayers are encouraged to gift aid their donations where possible, adding a value of 28p to every pound they give, at no extra personal cost.

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