Churches declare continuing solidarity with the Zimbabwean people

By staff writers
February 16, 2009

Catholic bishops marked yesterday as a special 'Zimbabwe Sunday' to encourage prayer and solidarity for the beleaguered people of the Southern African nation, as its new unity government emerges.

Zimbabweans are suffering from hunger, cholera and an endemic economic crisis which has made unemployment and homelessness rife. New Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai faces a massive task in getting his erstwhile enemy President Robert Mugabe to take effective action.

Promoting the Catholic initiative this weekend were the Bishops of South Africa, Botswana, and Swaziland (the three countries that form a part of the Southern African Bishops' Conference), who at Sunday services encouraged the people to collect food and medicine to be distributed to those in need through the network of Caritas Zimbabwe.

Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight also sent a message of solidarity to the people and Church of Zimbabwe, on behalf of all 162 national Caritas members.

"Half of Zimbabweans rely on food aid to survive, a cholera epidemic has killed 3,500 so far out of 71,000 cases, and the country's economic, health, educational infrastructure has collapsed," Caritas Internationalis, the global catholic development network, said in a statement.

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