Contact: Roe Ann Wood
Scottsdale, AZ (December 2, 1999)--Food for the Hungry, FH, an international relief and development agency based in Arizona, is expanding its relief program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to provide life-saving seeds and tools to more than 100,000 people.
The organization has provided emergency agricultural relief in the Kivu Provinces of the Congo since 1997 with help from a USAID grant. "Our emergency agricultural intervention project has been the largest and most comprehensive seed and tool distribution in the Kivu region, and perhaps in all of the Congo during the past two years," said Ted Yamamori, Food for the Hungry president. "We have a successful track record in the Kivus and we now want to reach thousands of families in the Kantanga region - an area that has just recently opened up to humanitarian aid," he added.
Families in the area are currently surviving on less than 1/3 their normal caloric intake, and thousands could starve next year if seeds are not distributed by January. The planting season in northern Katanga runs from November to January and there is only one planting season per year. Right now, many families are foraging in the woods for food. "The timing of seed distributions is critical due to the state of the families and the agricultural cycle of the region," Yamamori said. "Food for the Hungry will work through local organizations, such as the local church, which helps strengthen the capacity of these organizations, empowers the general population, and makes use of local knowledge and resources," Yamamori added.
FH has distributed seeds in all but one zone in the Kivu Provinces. And, by February 2000, the organization will have provided nearly one million people with seeds and tools, assisted 73 groups in multiplying seeds for future plantings, and assisted 40 communities in reconstructing irrigation systems, bridges and roads.