CHURCH PLAN TO SAVE zim

People wait to withdraw money from an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at the Central African Banking Savings (CABS) in central Harare December 5, 2008. Zimbabwe's central bank on Thursday injected 80 trillion Zimbabwe dollars ($8 million) in new bank notes into the economy in a bid to end cash shortages that have seen hordes besieging banks amid a deepening economic crisis. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo (ZIMBABWE)
People wait to withdraw money from an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at the Central African Banking Savings (CABS) in central Harare December 5, 2008. Zimbabwe's central bank on Thursday injected 80 trillion Zimbabwe dollars ($8 million) in new bank notes into the economy in a bid to end cash shortages that have seen hordes besieging banks amid a deepening economic crisis. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo (ZIMBABWE)

Dan Fuphe

Dan Fuphe

A multi-million rand initiative to help rebuild the run-down Zimbabwean economy has been launched by concerned local churches and civil groups.

Already, the first of five truckloads carrying 30 tons of maize seed and fertilisers have been despatched to the stricken country from South Africa.

The R4 million relief project is being coordinated by the Rebuild Zimbabwe Campaign, Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and civil organisations.

It is envisaged that 20000 households will have benefited from the project once all five trucks reach Zimbabwe in the next few weeks.

Ambrose Moyo, executive director of the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa, said the seeds and fertilisers would be distributed by churches in Zimbabwe to all deserving households.

"The purchase of these seeds and the food has been made possible through the R4 million grant of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America," Moyo said.

He said more funding was expected from the Bread for the World project in Germany.

In a joint statement, ZCC president Bishop Naison Shava of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe and Bishop Mpande Khanye of the Presbyterian Church of South Africa, said they were concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe. The current political stalemate was also worrying.

"There is desperation among the majority of people in rural and urban areas who are faced with going without food, water, basic healthcare and medication," said the statement.

"Social services delivery, economic and financial infrastructures have broken down and human suffering has reached unprecedented levels.

"People are dying. The situation has now been worsened by a serious outbreak of cholera that is spreading like wild fire."

Unless Zimbabweans grow their own food this rainy season they would continue to be a burden to the region and the international community.

"To see the faces of innocent children who are dying from lack of food, of a mother breastfeeding a malnourished child from a breast that has gone dry because she has gone without food for days is heartbreaking," they said.

"Time is not on our side as we only have about four months of the rainy season in Zimbabwe and we need to get the inputs within three weeks otherwise it will be too late."

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