UN lauds UK, Canada and Netherlands for donations to avert southern Africa famine
Responding to WFP's urgent call for funds last week, the United Kingdom donated $28.1 million, Canada nearly $1 million and the Netherlands $500,000. These funds will be used to immediately purchase some 50,000 tons of food for distribution throughout southern Africa, according to the agency. Overall, the $507 million appeal aims to provide close to 1 million tons of food aid to feed 10.2 million people until the next main harvest in March 2003.
WFP Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Judith Lewis, called the new funds "timely and crucial" but warned that more was needed to prevent a catastrophe. "Seven million people in the region are very hungry now and that number will only grow over the coming months," she said.
The humanitarian crisis affecting Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland is a consequence of a combination of natural and man made disasters, including drought, flooding, failed government policies and devastated economies - factors which are all greatly exacerbated in a region suffering from chronic malnutrition, extreme poverty and the world's highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS.