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Agnes van Ardenne, Minister for Development Cooperation, is donating 9 million euros to the UN to alleviate the food crisis in Africa

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Agnes van Ardenne, Minister for Development Cooperation, is donating 9 million euros to the UN to alleviate the food crisis in Africa. Of this sum, 5 million will go to the Horn of Africa, 3 million to Southern Africa and 1 million to West Africa. 40 million Africans are threatened by famine. Ethiopia has been worst hit by food shortages and faces widespread starvation.
This extra contribution will be announced at the beginning of a special Africa week organised by the public broadcasting organisations, which have teamed up to support the Help Hungry Africa campaign set up by Dutch Interchurch Aid (SHO).

The food crisis is worst in the Horn, where supplies are almost exhausted. The situation in Southern Africa appears to be stabilising somewhat, thanks to timely food aid and the donor community's rapid response to the UN's appeal in 2002.

Ms Van Ardenne applauds the initiative by the broadcasting organisations and the SHO. "It has come at a time when the situation is becoming increasingly grave. The food shortages are not just caused by drought. They are also the result of the AIDS pandemic, which has claimed the lives of many workers, with devastating consequences for agriculture and this year's harvest. Adults are too ill, and children and the elderly too weak to work on the land, which has a huge impact on the food situation."

In February 2002, when it first became clear that famine was threatening, the Netherlands contributed 22.5 million euros to the UN and activities by NGOs. In that year, its regular contribution to the World Food Programme was 40 million euros. 5 million euros was donated from the development budget to get the SHO campaign off the ground. In 2002 the Netherlands contributed over 100 million euros to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

At 11:00 on Tuesday 4 March, Ms Van Ardenne spoke at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' weekly press briefing, in order to give an update on developments in Africa with emphasis on the impending famine, HIV/AIDS and the role of the Netherlands in Sudan.