|UMCOR assists local partner for Zimbabwe aid|
Students at the Mount Makomwe United Methodist
Mission School near Marange, Zimbabwe, line up for a cup of the
nutritional drink mahewu.
UMNS file photos by Mike DuBose.
June 5, 2008 | NEW YORK (UMNS)
The United Methodist Committee on Relief is providing humanitarian assistance in politically charged Zimbabwe.
UMCOR responded on June 4 to a request for aid and will assist a
partner organization working on the ground in distributing food and
medicine to communities and clinics serving the most vulnerable.
Because of the high cost of fuel, UMCOR will help pay to transport
the goods to areas most affected by food shortages and politically
The agency also is working with Bishop Ivan Abraham and the Methodist
Church in Southern Africa to help provide shelter and food in the
Johannesburg area for refugees there, many of them from Zimbabwe. UMCOR
sent a $10,000 emergency grant and may provide a staff member there for
Methodist and other churches in the Johannesburg area are attempting to
care for as many as 30,000 people, some of whom were caught up by
violence in May aimed at refugees.
Students attend an assembly at the Munyarari United Methodist Mission
Center near Marange, Zimbabwe.
Both inside and outside the country, Zimbabweans are suffering from
economic hardship and political strife, particularly in the wake of
disputed results of a presidential election involving President Robert
Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader. A runoff election
is set for June 27.
On June 3, The New York Times reported that CARE––one of the
largest nonprofit aid groups working in Zimbabwe––was among groups
ordered by the government to suspend all operations in the country. The Times
quoted Mugabe's charge that money was being channeled through western
organizations to the opposition and that food was being used "as a
political weapon" against his government.
UMCOR is working with partners in Zimbabwe who "are coordinating with
their local network to provide humanitarian assistance," according to
the Rev. Sam Dixon, UMCOR’s top executive.
"As in Myanmar, where politics intervened in a humanitarian crisis,
we are poised and ready to respond fully when the government releases
its restrictions," he said.
The agency continues to support three hospitals in the region that
serve mothers and vulnerable children. Because of their location,
however, many people are too frightened to visit the hospitals and
healthcare providers are discouraged from assisting those affected by
the conflict, according to UMCOR.
Donations to UMCOR Advance No. 199456, Zimbabwe Emergency, can be
dropped into church offering plates or mailed directly to UMCOR, P.O.
Box 9068, New York, N.Y. 10087-9068. Write the Advance number and name
on the memo line of the check. Credit card donations are accepted online
at www.givetomission.org or by phone at (800) 554-8583.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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