BY IGOR TORONYI
CAFOD has launched a £4 million appeal to save the people of Zimbabwe from starvation as the Archbishop of Harare declared that the country was on the edge of collapse.
Following a disastrous harvest it is estimated that one in three people will be on the verge of starvation by March. Cafod's director Chris Bain said that unless the agency acts quickly they "will start to see loss of life on a large scale".
Archbishop Robert Ndlovu of Harare said in his appeal: "The Zimbabwean people stand at the edge of a precipice. Our country is in deep crisis. Our harvest has failed through a combination of severe drought, HIV and Aids and the consequences of economic decline.
"Our once bountiful nation is unable to feed its people and the coming months will bring yet deeper hunger and desperation for many," he added.
According to the United Nations, Zimbabwe's total harvest this year was 40 per cent down on the previous year. In some areas things were even worse.
The seriousness of the crisis has prompted Cafod to give all the proceeds of its annual Harvest Fast Day to the emergency fund for the first time &Ver.
Its emergency programme will then have provision for over 120,000 people. Cardinal Comae Murphy-O'Connor has appealed urgently for help.