Regina Lagton, who has a physical disability, and her two children outside their home.

Zimbabwe food crisis - supporting people with disabilities

Country: Zimbabwe
Category: Emergency response

The worst draught to hit southern Africa in decades has left over 4 million people in Zimbabwe in need of urgent help, with many getting by on one meal a day.  High temperatures, erratic rainfall and prolonged dry spells have resulted in widespread crop failures and loss of livestock. Many families who have lost livestock and produce cannot afford to purchase sufficient food at the local markets due to the ongoing cash crisis, which is compounded by a lack of paid work due to the drought.

Around 30% of water supplies are seasonal and at risk of drying up. Currently 11,000 boreholes are affected and 1000 schools have reported disruption to their water supply. Many people now face a walk of up to 7km a day just to find water. 

The threat of malnutrition and starvation is increasing, with children, elderly people and those with disabilities among the most vulnerable. Children are going to school on empty stomachs and people with disabilities may find that community members who previously would have helped them to get food and water, now feel unable to do so due to the increasing strain on resources.

With our established partner in the country, CBM is working to support people with disabilities and their families through this crisis by:

  • Distributing emergency food packs to people with disabilities and their families in 39 of the worst affected districts.
  • Providing a nourishing daily meal at schools and centres for people disabilities.
  • Providing goats and chickens to some of the most vulnerable households to ensure greater food security in the long term.Woman at a bore hole, Zimbabwe
  • Improving access to water by creating 30 new bore holes in the worst affected districts to alleviate the
    pressure on water supplies and reduce the long journeys to collect water which are particularly difficult for people with disabilities.

Main Image: Regina Laghton and her two children live in one of the districts most affected by Zimbabwe's drought. With many bore holes and other water sources dried up, Regina has to walk 5 km every day to collect water, which is very challenging as she has a physical disability.  She used to work in the fields to grow food and sell the surplus to earn a small income, but after 3 years of drought nothing will grow.

Bottom image: women collecting water at a bore hole - because of the drought, this bore hole is drying up and some women wait hours, even sleeping there overnight, to collect 20 litres of water. 

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