CARE calls for collaborative effort to avert looming human suffering

An international Non-Governmental Organisation, CARE, has called for urgent collaborative effort among donors and other actors to help avert looming humanitarian suffering caused by climate change and El Nino induced weather conditions in some Southern African countries which has resulted into drought.

The call was made on Monday during a virtual media briefing with participants from Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, among others.

This comes in the wake of a record breaking dry spell lasting over 30 days, which is scorching eight countries in southern Africa namely, Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Speaking during the briefing, CARE Zambia Country Director Chikwe Mbweeda described the current drought as not just a climate shock, but a human crisis and demanded for an immediate action.

“This crisis has disproportionately affected women and girls. We know that in such situations they will eat the least and the last because this is what happens in the household.

“They would travel long distances in search of water and food which to some extent exposes them to sexual and gender based violence,” she said.

President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Agricultural Research Council of Southern Africa, Litha Magingxa, observed that if people don’t know what climate change looks like, they can start by looking at what is happening in Southern Africa.

“A very interesting phenomenon that we are experiencing in Southern Africa is the occurrence of drought in some parts of the country, while we are dealing with floods in other parts and also the frequency of these,” he said.

Some of the members of the media and participants at the briefing.

Alice Kachere, a rural women representative, called for urgent action by the various humanitarian agencies, observing women are suffering.

CARE Southern Africa Regional Director Matthew Pickard described the situation as dire and demanding an urgent and coordinated action to avert a catastrophe.

“We need action now, today, it can’t wait. We are living in a crisis that is very clear from what our speakers have said, and each of us has a role to play in supporting vulnerable families in this time of greatest need,” he said.

Speaking in an interview, CARE Malawi Country Director, Pamela Kuwali, said the media briefing was organized to give an update on the humanitarian situation in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, provide a regional implication of the drought as well as an overview of the humanitarian response and the impact of the drought on women.

CARE Malawi Country Director, Pamela Kuwali

She appealed for proper planning and collaboration among all players in dealing with climate change related shocks, observing these will continue to happen.

To address the escalating crisis, CARE is launching a comprehensive response plan focused on providing assistance which will include food and revenue generation, among others, to vulnerable groups, according to a statement released by the organization. Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera declared a state of disaster in 23 out of the 28 districts of the country affected by El Nino conditions where an expected two million people are in dire need of food aid.

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