Mozambique: Nine hunger-related deaths confirmed

JOHANNESBURG, 22 January (IRIN) - Authorities have confirmed nine hunger-related deaths in an isolated area of north-western Mozambique.
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.


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