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NANGO welcomes planned elders visit
National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe (NANGO)
November 21, 2008

The National Association of Non Governmental Organisations representing NGOs operating in Zimbabwe, welcomes the planned visit by members of the group of Elders - international advocate for women and children's rights - and wife of Nelson Mandela - Graca Machel, former United Nationals Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former United States President Jimmy Carter to Zimbabwe.

NANGO understands that the visit is in order to give the Elders an opportunity to make a first hand assessment of the humanitarian situation and how to more effectively respond to current humanitarian needs. Zimbabwe needs as much help as it can get in order to effectively meet the overwhelming levels of need throughout the country, as such NANGO roundly applauds the Elders expressed commitment to urge "the International community to support a Zimbabwe-led process of recovery and provide sufficient funding for its implementation

The Elders visit to Zimbabwe coincides with what is widely regarded as Zimbabwe's worst ever humanitarian crisis in post-independent history, whereby more than half of the population has been rendered food insecure and therefore in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The daily struggle of the ordinary Zimbabwean for survival has become unbearable. The lives of millions of Zimbabweans are under realistic threat facing serious food and water shortages, a breakdown in the health delivery system - proven by the close down of hospitals - and a spreading Cholera outbreak.

NANGO is deeply concerned about information protracted by the state-run newspaper The Herald stating that the Government advised the Elders to postpone their visit. Allegedly the Government argues that it is currently too occupied with the ongoing Inter-Party Talks and preparations for the cropping season. In light of this, NANGO hereby urges the relevant authorities to render the appropriate assistance and information as would enable the Elders to carry out their mission of rallying international support to support a Zimbabwe led process of recovery.

NANGO believes that an imminent visit by the group of Elders is crucial: The high profile visit of the Elders would ensure that the world is reminded of the plight of the vast majority of Zimbabweans. The country would receive decisive assistance in solving the humanitarian crisis.

Further underscoring the importance of the Elders visit is the reality of dwindling levels of humanitarian assistance amidst a huge sea of need - A condition which the Elders is well positioned to reverse. The World Food Programme realistically estimates that 5 million Zimbabweans will need emergency food aid by early next year. But since global attention to the escalating Zimbabwean crisis has slipped away the WFP is struggling to receive enough funding to assist Zimbabweans in their survival-struggle. An imminent Elders visit will ensure that the international spotlight is switched on again on Zimbabwe. Therefore NANGO is convinced that the Elders visit is in the interest of the people of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwean leaders should not only ensure that the Elders are welcome this weekend but that they are also assisted in every way in making their crucial first-hand assessment. NANGO will likewise contribute to this assessment by presenting a Dossier detailing the dimensions of the currently negative operating environment for humanitarian organizations.

Visit the NANGO fact sheet

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