Malawi + 4 more

Millions struggling to survive Southern African drought

Across Southern Africa millions of people are struggling for survival. The region is facing drastic food shortages resulting from severe drought compounded by the general economic downturn.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 13 million people spread across seven countries are on the very edge of survival and require immediate humanitarian assistance. The countries worst hit are Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

"Australian aid agencies are at the forefront of assistance efforts across the region" stated Rhonda Chapman of the Australian Council for Overseas Aid (ACFOA). "Poverty, the lack of basic social services and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS have increased the vulnerability of many people, leaving them unable to provide for themselves and their families".

In many countries, this is the second or third year of food shortages, exhausting people's ability to cope. These people have no food or financial reserves and they are reverting to last ditch efforts to feed themselves and their families. They are eating potentially poisonous wild foods, stealing crops and taking up prostitution in order to cope.

"Australian aid agencies are providing much needed food relief to affected communities including feeding centres for children as well as continuing their support to ensure long-term food security through irrigation, seed distribution and HIV/AIDS assistance programs" said Ms Chapman.

These agencies are committed to alleviating this struggle for survival in Southern Africa. ACFOA urges Australians to show their support by donating to their agency of choice.

The following Australia agencies are conducting appeals to assist the people of Southern Africa and are signatories to the ACFOA Code of Conduct which requires high standards of public accountability:

AngliCORD 1800 249 880
Australian Foundation for Peoples of Asia & the Pacific 1800 007 308
Australian Lutheran World Service (02) 6021 5329
Australian Red Cross 1800 811 700
Baptist World Aid Australia 1300 789 991
CARE Australia 1800 020 046
Caritas Australia 1800 024 413
Every Home for Christ (02) 9570 8211
Oxfam/Community Aid Abroad 1800 034 034
Plan Australia 1800 038 100
Save the Children 1800 337 283
UNICEF Australia 1300 884 233
World Vision 13 32 40

For further information contact: Rhonda Chapman on 02 6285 1816 or 0402 318 703