Critical food aid shipment to Zimbabwe rerouted

By January 8, 2009

Zimbabwe (MNN) — The United
Nations has found that more than two-thirds of Zimbabweans are living on one
meal or less per day.

Inflation has put the cost of
groceries out of reach for the underprivileged, and rampant unemployment has
left many unable to provide for their families.

The estimates of those in need of
emergency food aid are roughly at 5.5 million people. Child malnutrition has
shot up by two-thirds in some areas of the country in the past year.

For almost three months, from
June to August, President Robert Mugabe banned international charitable
organizations from operating, depriving more than a million people of food and
basic aid after the country had already suffered one of its
worst harvests.

Already, there's an 18,000-ton shortfall of food aid for January. 
Add to that a cholera epidemic and it's clear that millions need help.

SIM launched a response through
a partnership between the SIM Zimbabwe HOPE for AIDS team, Multi Ministries (, and the Central Methodist Church of Johannesburg. 

The plan was to distribute a bulk
consignment of SEJO (Sorghum-based high
nutrition porridge meal) in
Zimbabwe. A distribution network was in
place. Funds were raised, and local church volunteers trained.

However, Tim Barrow, director for
the Southern Africa Region reported that "permission to import this high
energy meal has been withheld, even though this highly-nutritional meal
replacement is used extensively in South Africa and is exported across the
Southern Africa region."   

Meanwhile, starvation claimed hundreds of lives. The
immediacy forced a redrawing of the plan. Teams found two Zimbabwean refugee camps in Johannesburg and Musina,
South Africa, and distributed their relief there. 

They're still looking for a way
to distribute in Zimbabwe, but for now, they're helping where they can. The SIM team plans to distribute five more
shipments of high-nutrition meals over the next two to three months, as well as
the distribution of seed, fertilizer and Bibles.  

Pray for an open door for work
inside Zimbabwe and for good food security as the product is dispersed to the
distribution centers. Pray, too, that
many would see Jesus as the Bread of Life through this project. 

Click here if you can help.


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