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USAID chartered ship departs U.S. for southern Africa

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Washington - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has chartered the Liberty Star to transport 36,000 metric tons of emergency food commodities to southern Africa. Valued at approximately $16 million, the Liberty Star's delivery will feed up to 2.4 million people for a month. This is an additional contribution in response to the World Food Program's most recent appeal, and will include corn, cornsoya milk and cornmeal.

Having contributed more than 96,000 metric tons of food aid in response to appeals issued earlier this year, the United States government is the biggest donor to the World Food Program's operations in southern Africa. The United States will ship more food in the coming months to address the urgent and growing humanitarian needs, including an additional 190,000 metric tons of corn, beans and vegetable oil.

USAID has been monitoring the food security situation in southern Africa since early 2001. The situation is serious and will worsen in the coming months. The World Food Program and U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization have estimated that up to 12.8 million people in the famine-threatened countries will need immediate emergency food assistance between now and next year's harvest. Given the enormity of the need, the United States is urging other donors to contribute to the regional humanitarian food requirements as well.

The Liberty Star is currently loading in Port Charles, La., and is due to arrive in Africa at the end of July.

Contact: USAID Press Office
WASHINGTON, DC 20523
PRESS OFFICE
(202) 712-4320