SW RADIO AFRICA news stories:

<br> Children flee starvation in Zim for food and work in SA<br> </span><strong><br> By Alex Bell<br> 16 October 2008</strong></p> <p>In a new trend that speaks volumes about the humanitarian crisis on the ground in Zimbabwe, hungry children are joining the flood of exiles crossing the border into neighbouring South Africa, to escape certain starvation at home.</p> <p>The severe food crisis across the country has already taken the lives of countless children, and many more are unlikely to survive until the end of the year. Newsreel reported on Wednesday that just half the children admitted to hospitals with hunger related diseases such as kwashiorkor survive, the others are sent home to die. Many hospitals themselves are unable to feed to the country’s youngest victims, in a crisis that is deliberately being kept silent by the Robert Mugabe regime.</p> <p>With the School’s Examination Board still to distribute exam timetables, and with the majority of learners only having attended an estimated 23 days of school this year, the future for Zimbabwe’s children grows bleaker by the day.</p> <p>The situation has left youngsters with few choices. But many have already made the courageous decision to seek food, shelter and even employment across the border.</p> <p>Bishop Paul Veryn, whose Central Methodist church in Johannesburg provides shelter and food to homeless immigrants, told Newsreel on Thursday that the church had seen an increase in the number of children of school going age arriving from Zimbabwe to seek shelter, after making the journey into South Africa on their own. </p> <p>“Presently, my church is taking care of 150 children from Zimbabwe, who came to Johannesburg on their own and now attend our school,” the Bishop said. </p> <p>Adult male Zimbabweans have over the years often traveled to South Africa in search of employment on the country’s sprawling farms, mines and factories, in order to support families back home. But the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy, as well as the recent upsurge in political violence, has seen this trend change with whole families leaving their homes for the relative security of South Africa. </p> <p>But Veryn said it appeared the trend has now changed again, with young school children also joining the exodus. “This week alone, my church received 30 children escaping from abject poverty in Zimbabwe,” said Veryn. The Bishop explained the children are all deeply traumatised, as many were orphaned by the political violence that rocked the country this year. He also said some of the children left their homes “because they feel they are a burden to their families,” and added it is “devastating that these little children have to make this decision.”</p> <p>The children who arrive at the Church are among the lucky few, and there is no way of telling how many other children have attempted the journey only to be snatched at the border or die on the way. <br> </p> <p><br> </p> <p>  </p> <p><br> </p></td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top" class="entry"><span class="title_sub">SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news</span></td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top" class="entry"> <div align="center"><b><a href="/index.php">Home</a>    •    <a href="/pages/archives.php">Archives</a>    •    <a href="/pages/schedule.php">Schedule</a>     •    <a href="/pages/links.php">Links</a>     •    <a href="/pages/feedback.php">Feedback</a>     •    <a href="/pages/views.php">Views</a>     •   <a href="/pages/reports.htm"> Reports</a> </b></div> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top" class="entry"> </td> </tr> </table> <br></td> </tr> </table> </body> </html>