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Southern Africa is in the throes of an acute humanitarian crisis that is having countrywide impacts in Angola, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as affecting significant populations in Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland. It is estimated that, across the entire region, 7.5 million (plus a further 1.9 million in Angola) people already require immediate food assistance; a figure that will rise to 16.3 million over the January -March 2003 period. Of those in need, at least 60% are under the age of 18 years.
At a glance
Immediate assistance is needed to avert humanitarian catastrophe
Save the Children UK (SCUK) is calling on delegates at this week's meeting convened by the UN on the Southern Africa food crisis to come up with a clear and realistic plan on how to prevent a tragedy on a massive scale.
Save the Children UK has begun giving food to hundreds of thousands of people in need in famine-stricken Malawi. This is the second phase of the largest such food distribution programme by any aid agency during the current crisis.
A major food shortage is affecting six countries in Southern Africa, most critically in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Significant problems are also occurring in Swaziland and Lesotho, and amongst populations of internally displaced people in Angola. Acute food shortages are being reported in both rural and urban areas. FAO-GIEWS estimates that over two million people in all three countries urgently require food assistance. While 460,000 MT of food is required to sustain the region, just 130,000 of this has been sourced, leaving a 333,000 MT shortfall.