Mozambique

World Relief President returns from Mozambique: Famine worse than reported

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BALTIMORE, January 27, 2003 - World Relief President Clive Calver returned last week from Mozambique, where he said the famine is worse than what is being reported.
Calver traveled to Chicualacuala, an isolated, virtually uninhabitable area in southern Mozambique near the Zimbabwe and South Africa borders. "There is a grotesque unawareness about what is happening in the remote areas of southern Africa where the people in need are difficult to reach," said Calver.

What Calver encountered in Chicualacuala was horrific. "There were people lying beneath trees dying, while others were eating worms and vegetation that normally only the elephants would have," said Calver.

A village pastor told Calver about a couple who died in the famine, orphaning their three children. The children were apparently so shocked from the loss and hunger that the neighbors smelled the bodies decomposing days before the children acknowledged that their parents were dead.

USAID estimates that there are 590,000 people at risk of starvation in Mozambique. The Mozambique National Disaster Management Institute projects that the number of people at risk will rise to 1.4 million because of a lack of rain during the planting season in late 2002.

Calver explained that churches are key in the response to the crisis because they [churches] are some of the only institutions that exist in remote areas like Chicualacuala. "Churches understand the needs of their communities better than outsiders do and can distribute aid more effectively," said Calver.

For nearly 60 years, World Relief has worked with local churches to create sustainable solutions that help the desperately poor. Operating in more than 20 countries and 26 cities in the U.S., World Relief's programs include disaster relief, refugee assistance, AIDS outreach, urban ministries, community health, agricultural development, and community banking.

To arrange interviews with Clive Calver, please contact Matthew Pugh at 443-451-1966.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Matthew Pugh at 443-451-1966
World Relief
7 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21202
www.worldrelief.org
Fax: 443-451-1995
E-mail: mpugh@wr.org