Millions of people in the southern African nations of Zimbabwe and Zambia are facing severe food shortages due to prolonged drought and economic crisis. The need for prayers and funding is critical.

Ways to help:

Give Now through CRS
Learn about CRS’ work in Zimbabwe
Learn about the work of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) in Zimbabwe and Zambia
Pray (Send your living waters | Prayer of the helping hands)

“Families have run out of options to put food on their tables,” said Dorrett Byrd, Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) regional director for Southern Africa.

The United Nations reports that nearly half the population of Zimbabwe – nearly 8 million people – do not have enough food to meet basic daily caloric requirements and are suffering terribly. Ongoing drought over the last five years has caused many of Zimbabwe’s small farmers to be unable to feed their families. Drought has increased in frequency and intensity due to climate change. In addition to widespread crop failure, inflation has decimated many families’ savings.

Other countries in the region are also facing an escalating hunger crisis. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that more than 45 million people in Southern Africa are currently faced with food insecurity. In Zambia, an extreme dry spell has had devastating effects on crops, causing severe food shortages for more than 1.7 million people. This number is expected to rise, according to the United Nations, which anticipates an increase to 2.3 million during the ‘lean season’ which began in October and extends through March.

“This area of the world needs help and it needs help now,” Byrd said. “We hope the economic situation improves soon, but if climate change is not addressed, countries like Zimbabwe will continue to suffer.”

Additional resources:

Millions of people in southern Africa facing food crisis (Crux, Jan. 16, 2020)
CRS warns of worsening hunger crisis in Zimbabwe (Dec. 30, 2019)
Famine Early Warning Systems Network, Southern Africa
The effects of climate change in Zimbabwe (CRS)