Malawi + 7 more

Southern Africa: Donors still needed for food emergency - WFP

JOHANNESBURG, 8 April (IRIN) - At least 2,6 million people in Southern Africa are desperate for food, yet the World Food Programme (WFP) has still not received any new donations towards the US $69 million it needs to help them.
WFP regional information officer Laura Melo told IRIN on Monday that no money had come forward since the UN food agency made the appeal on 26 March.

At the time WFP said in a press release that a combination of factors - from floods and drought to political and social developments - had eroded millions of people's ability to cope with yet another bad harvest in the region. It said donor responses to WFP appeals had been sluggish and the agency urgently needed the money (which could buy about 145,866 mt of food) to "ward off an imminent break in food supplies, particularly for people in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe".

Melo told IRIN on Monday that while one "can't talk of a famine [yet] in the region, [we] are trying to raise the alarm bells" to prevent the situation from deteriorating. She said while assessments were still being conducted in Swaziland and Lesotho, WFP had initiatives under way in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia.

WFP and several other agencies have appealed for food and money in recent weeks to stem what some have described as an impending disaster in the region.

In Malawi, one of the hardest-hit by the food shortage, the international Church World Service on Monday appealed for US $100,000 to help Churches Action in Relief and Development provide corn to 19,000 farm families in the Salima district, and cereal to 10,000 severely malnourished children in the Nsanje district.

On Friday, international relief organisation Concern, The Irish Missionary Union, Self-Help Development International and Trocaire said they were allocating more than 650,000 euros to nutrition and development programmes in the region to deal with the shortages.

WFP indicated in its latest emergency report released on Friday that several national and international non-governmental organisations were pooling their efforts to get food to the needy.

[ENDS]

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