UN, Red Cross and Red Crescent team up to fight southern Africa food crisis

UN, Red Cross and Red Crescent team up to fight southern Africa food crisis

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies today agreed to team up as part of their response to the unfolding food crisis in southern Africa.

According to the agreement signed in Malawi, the agencies will work as operational partners to supply and deliver food and non-food items to beneficiaries in Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, where 13 million people are facing severe food shortages.

"We are incredibly grateful for this strategic and timely contribution," James T. Morris, WFP's Executive Director and UN Special Envoy for the crisis, said in Malawi, where he is continuing his two-week mission to the six countries affected by the crisis. "This is typical of the extraordinary support that WFP has received from Norway and other Nordic countries over the years."

"The massive needs in southern Africa have led us to find new ways to collaborate and coordinate our activities," explained the Secretary-General of the Norwegian Red Cross, Jan Egeland, who signed the agreement on behalf of the International Federation. "With this partnership we are benefiting from each other's strengths and maximizing the use of available resources."

The International Federation is making available to WFP vehicles and other heavy equipment and warehouses to transport and story the food supplied by the agency and its non-governmental partners.

As part of the agreement, WFP will cover the running costs of the equipment, and the International Federation will employ and train all the necessary staff.