Mozambique

Mozambique: Famine in remote areas a lot worse than reported

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JOHANNESBURG, 28 January (IRIN) - An international relief agency this week said the effects of food shortages in Mozambique were a lot worse than what had been reported.
Following a visit to the southern African country, World Relief President Clive Calver said there was "a grotesque unawareness" about the impact of the food crisis, especially in remote areas.

Calver travelled to Chicualacuala, an isolated area in southern Mozambique.

"There were people lying beneath trees dying, while others were eating worms and vegetation that normally elephants would have," Calver said in a statement.

Mozambique's National Disaster Management Institute has claimed that the number of people who would need food aid would rise to 1.4 million from the previous figure of about 600,000. This was mainly due to poor rains over the planting season in late 2002.

Calver called on churches to play a more active role in the response to the crisis "because they [churches] are some of the only institutions that exist in remote areas like Chicualacuala".

In a related development, an outbreak of cholera in northern Mozambique has killed 12 people and infected hundreds more, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Cholera is the latest in a string of disasters to hit the impoverished country, which last week reported nine hunger related deaths amid widespread food shortages.

Authorities in Mozambique told Reuters that there were fears that the number of victims could increase in the Sofala province as rains continue to fall and create conditions for the spread of the disease.

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