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Agency Moves To Counter Major Starvation Threat

Aid Agency Moves To Counter Major Starvation Threat

World Vision senior relief personnel are putting together a strategy to bring relief to southern Africa, where up to 19 million people are threatened with hunger.

World Vision New Zealand executive director Helen Green plans to travel to Malawi next month to assess the situation for herself.

"This is the worst famine in the region for a decade and a comprehensive effort is needed to avert calamity," she said.

World Vision today launched an appeal for southern Africa and directed an initial $NZ50,000 from money raised during the recent 40 Hour Famine for the region.

Mrs Green said a cocktail of factors had conspired to create the current emergency. These included drought, poor economic performance, depletion of grain reserves and a loss of production due to the AIDS pandemic.

The situation is most severe in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, but Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland are also affected. World Vision is planning a major relief effort in each of the six countries.

It is projected that 4 million people in the region will be in need of emergency food assistance by June, and the number could swell to 19 million by September.

World Vision's relief strategy will likely include distribution of food, seeds, tools and the implementation of health and nutritional programmes.

Mrs Green said many in southern Africa were already desperately in need of food relief, especially in rural areas.

Individuals wishing to support World Vision famine relief can phone: 0800 80 2000


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