Southern Africa threatened by hunger, top UN aid official tells US lawmakers

13 June 2002

The head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today urged members of the United States House of Representatives to act quickly to avert a humanitarian disaster in southern Africa, where 12.8 million people are threatened with starvation over the coming year.

Addressing the International Relations Committee in Washington, D. C., WFP Executive Director James T. Morris said the crisis was caused by a combination of erratic rainfall, economic decline and government mismanagement.

Mr. Morris noted that this crisis was the first in history in which HIV/AIDS played a major role, as the countries most affected by the drought were also at the epicentre of the pandemic.

Issuing a similar appeal at this week's World Food Summit in Rome, Mr. Morris urged the international community to increase its assistance to southern Africa.


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