The country is among six nations in Southern Africa experiencing food shortages due largely to consecutive droughts, failed government policy and the impact of HIV/AIDS. About 15 million people face hunger in the six affected countries.
The office of the UN resident coordinator's emergency unit confirmed that nine hunger-related deaths had been reported in Magoe, an isolated and historically food insecure district. The nine had apparently resorted to eating wild fruits to stave off hunger.
The INGC (Mozambique's National Disaster Management Institute) had earlier told IRIN that it projected a sharp increase in the numbers of people in need.
The agency 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.
However, the UN World Food Programme was still operating on the basis that 600,000 were in need until figures from the latest vulnerability assessments were validated.
Further assessments are likely to be carried out soon in the Magoe district, which borders Zimbabwe.
Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11 447-5472
[This Item is Delivered to the "Africa-English" Service of the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. For further information, free subscriptions, or to change your keywords, contact e-mail: IRIN@ocha.unon.org or Web: http://www.irinnews.org . If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Reposting by commercial sites requires written IRIN permission.]
Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2003