Rugby charity ramps up Zimbabwe appeal amid warnings of humanitarian crisis - The Rugby Observer

Rugby charity ramps up Zimbabwe appeal amid warnings of humanitarian crisis

Rugby Editorial 11th Feb, 2019   0

A RUGBY-based charity is ramping up its appeal to help Zimbabwean families overcome extreme weather after warning the impact of climate change will hit the country in the coming months.

Practical Action’s appeal to help farmers in Zimbabwe double their harvest was officially launched by Rugby MP Mark Pawsey at its Albert Street bookshop in December.

It has intensified amid reports of protests at increased fuel prices and shortages in the African country.

The charity’s chief executive Paul Smith-Lomas said: “We are concerned about the current situation – especially its impact on the poorest and most vulnerable communities – and will be monitoring the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe closely as it develops. We hope it comes to a positive and peaceful conclusion as soon as possible.”

“We are always committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of both our staff and the communities we work with. Only long-term development work like ours which enables the poorest communities to become self-sufficient will help Zimbabwe recover.”

Practical Action staff in Zimbabwe are also warning of an impending humanitarian crisis following the driest Christmas season in years.

Innocent Katsande, from Practical Action’s Harare office, said: “I can’t remember the last time we had a dry Christmas in Zimbabwe. These affected communities will be entirely reliant on food aid from this month onwards. There simply won’t be enough food for people to feed their families.

“We need more projects like ours to help people cope when the rains fail so they are still able to irrigate their land and grow food.”

The charity’s Planting for Progress project combines education, skills training and solar-powered water pumps to enable farmers to sell surplus and cash crops, increase income and provide fresh food for their community.

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