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“Think Of All The Children Starving In Africa”

18 June 2002


We’ve all heard it or said it ourselves around the dinner table.

A throw away phrase intended to encourage a child to finish a home-cooked meal or to have at least one bite of broccoli.

Never has that saying had more meaning than now, says Adam Laidlaw, Chief Executive of CCF NZ, the international child-focused development agency.

“It’s absolutely crucial that we act now. Thousands, maybe millions of malnourished children are dying at the moment from lack of food supplies, explains Mr Laidlaw.

“Money, donated by Kiwis and the rest of the world can help to feed these children and keep them alive.”

Mr Laidlaw is calling for Kiwis to think about how much they spend on food each week and donate just five percent of that to CCF NZ’s emergency Africa Famine Appeal.

“That’s just five dollars for every hundred spent at the supermarket each week.”

CCF staff are currently in Angola offering medical assistance to children and people in need. They are predominantly working in Bocoio in Bengula Province, one of the quartering areas the Angola government has set aside for former rebel forces, their families, and residents of formerly controlled rebel areas.

Angolans began coming into the area in droves since the cease-fire was declared. CCF workers report that children are extremely malnourished and deaths are occurring on a daily basis.

They’re treating diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia, and conducting nutritional assessments so that families can get additional food supplements provided by German Agro Action.

The situation is made all the more dramatic because, apart from the military, people in this area have not had any contact with humanitarian aid organisations or outside groups for much of the past decade.

"It's as if people have been totally removed from society for a decade," says CCF aid worker, Dola Mohapatra.

CCF teams are preparing to go into Gamba I and Gamba II, two other quartering areas set aside by the government for housing former rebel soldiers and their families.

"This situation in these areas is likely to be even worse because it is more remote. The road to Gamba I has been cleared of mines, but we’ll have to go through the jungle on foot to get to Gamba II," explains Dola Mohapatra.

"It is a desperate situation especially for the children who are the most vulnerable to malnutrition and diseases."

CCF has also delivered 10,000 tonnes of maize into Zambia, however it is expected that those supplies will be depleted very soon.

CCF requires urgent funds to continue and extend its work in Southern Africa.

Donations can be made by calling toll free 0800 808 822, online at www.ccf.org.nz or by sending a cheque to CCF NZ, PO Box 105 630, Auckland.

Cheques should be marked with the words “Africa Famine” for identification purposes.

ENDS

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