Starvation in Africa

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Posted by Sadie from D007020.N1.Vanderbilt.Edu ( on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 0:47AM :

Just think what the U.S. gov't COULD be doing with all those funds that are going into the military & making new weapons.... & how unnecessary the attack against Iraq was. All that expense (money, time, & energy) for what? How has anyone's situation improved?
State to Ask UN Agency to Extend Food Assistance

The Daily News (Harare)

May 26, 2003
Posted to the web May 26, 2003

The Zimbabwean government is to make a formal request to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to extend emergency assistance to millions of its citizens facing starvation.

WFP deputy executive director Sheila Sisulu said the results of a crop assessment, to be released next week by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation and the WFP, will reveal the extent of the food crisis in the region.

The WFP is running its biggest relief project in Southern Africa, with assistance being rendered to Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Sisulu met with Zimbabwe's Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, July Moyo, and officials from the departments of Agriculture and Foreign Affairs in Zimbabwe this week.

"All of them were very clear that they were going to make a request for assistance to the WFP," Sisulu said.

"The extent of the request will be indicated to us in the coming week.

"We will all be watching those figures to determine the extent of food assistance that is going to be required all round, specifically in Zimbabwe."

She said the WFP had been preparing to move out of Zimbabwe as its emergency intervention period ended in June.

Zimbabwe has the largest number of people requiring assistance, with an estimated 7,2 million people facing hunger due to drought and crop shortages.

The high prevalence of HIV/Aids is exacerbating the problem.

Sisulu said the WFP gave assistance to the most vulnerable people. In March, during the height of the relief programme, the organisation provided food aid to five million Zimbabweans.

"We averted a crisis in the region. If the international community had not come to the rescue at the time that it did, we could have had a serious crisis," she said, adding that although there had been rain in some areas in dire need, it had not broken the drought.

The WFP is also providing relief in Ethiopia, which is facing a severe drought, and in Eritrea and other areas in the Horn of Africa.

It is also planning to increase its activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Ivory Coast, where civil conflict has sparked a humanitarian crisis.

Politics had a negative impact on people's safety and security, Sisulu said. "If asked whether this is the case more so in Africa, I would have to say yes."

Since the end of the war in Iraq the WFP has resumed operations in that country, using the former government's distribution infrastructure to provide food aid.

"The former government of Iraq had a very good distribution system as a large percentage of the population was dependent on food supplies. The war has destabilised this but we are now restoring the network," Sisulu said.

She returns to the WFP's headquarters in Rome this week after spending time with her family in South Africa following the death of her father-in-law, Walter Sisulu.

-- Sadie
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