Lesotho + 4 more

CARE delivers food, support to drought-stricken in Southern Africa

News and Press Release
Originally published
Helping communities address emergency and long-term needs
JOHANNESBURG (June 25, 2002) - Thirteen million people in six Southern African countries will need food aid over the next nine months. CARE is delivering food for hundreds of thousands of people and helping communities improve their prospects beyond the crisis. The severity of the famine calls for prolonged international support to help people restore livelihoods after next year's harvest.

In Zimbabwe, 6 million people face hunger. CARE is distributing food, and providing meals to children under the age of 14. CARE is helping communities create small dams; distribute seeds for drought-resistant crops; establish savings and lending programs; link small-scale farmers to markets; and help HIV- and AIDS- affected households generate income. CARE has worked in Zimbabwe since 1992.

In Malawi, 3 million people are at risk. CARE is distributing food in two regions around Lilongwe. CARE works with communities to improve agricultural production, introducing drought-tolerant crops, such as cassava, and building small dams to irrigate nearby fields. Villagers stock these dams with fish. Women form village groups to save money and grant one another loans, supporting themselves through difficult times. CARE has worked in Malawi since 1998.

In Zambia, 2.4 million people need food. CARE is distributing food and preparing for drought-recovery activities, such as disseminating seeds for drought-tolerant crops. CARE manages three refugee camps in Zambia, where it has worked since 1992.

In Mozambique, where half a million people are at risk, CARE is distributing food and seeds for drought-tolerant crops, as well as helping communities develop irrigation systems. CARE has worked in Mozambique since 1986.

In Lesotho, nearly half a million people need food. CARE helps farmers increase earnings and develop income-generating activities. CARE has worked in Lesotho since 1968.

"This is an enormous crisis, devastating people who were already poor and had little safety net to respond to the drought," said Chris Conrad, director for Southern and West Africa, CARE. "Communities are taking significant steps to respond to this emergency and to prevent it from happening again. But they can't do it alone. The international community must continue its support through next March, as people will be hungry until the next harvest."

A lack of rains last year killed maize crops, the staple food. Areas in Zambia lost 100 percent of their crops. In Malawi, this disaster followed a year of floods, which left people hungry in 2001. Production levels have been further reduced by HIV/AIDS, which affected the workforce. Agricultural yields this year are the worst in 10 years, when the region experienced a drought that left 18 million people hungry.

Media Contacts:

Atlanta: Lynn Heinisch, CARE USA, heinisch@care.org,.404.979-9453, 404.681-4579