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31 Jan 2004 description

The Context

The humanitarian crisis that became acute in Southern Africa1 at the end of 2001, when up to 14 million people were estimated to be in need of immediate food aid was the result of a complex mix of factors. Drought triggered but did not cause the crisis. The scene had been set by declines in remittances, the devastating effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the region, the effect of poor and inappropriate economic and social policies, the deterioration in rural infrastructure, and the decline in governments' capacity to deliver basic services.