ACT Alert Tanzania - No 1/2000: Famine Conditions Prevail

News and Press Release
Originally published
Geneva, 18 February 2000
ACT member the Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT) reports that the food situation has not improved and is likely to deteriorate further as the vuli rains (September-December) were below normal. The Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives estimates that the vuli season harvest will be 70 to 80 percent below the 5-year average. According to recent weather forecasts, the masika rains (March to mid May) can also not be predicted because of the warm conditions prevailing in the Pacific Ocean.

Mwalaji - Shinyanga district (Shinyanga region)

Minutes of the Committee Meeting of Mwalaji Village (one of the villages in Negezi division) of 15.01.2000 indicate that some families go without food for up to 4 days and listed 163 families to be in great need of food with the probability that people would die if there is no urgent food relief.

CCT has received reports from the Diocese of Shinyanga with information that 24 families had been deserted by their male heads who had migrated to Kahama district (about 80 kms away). Water is very scarce, the Manonga river, which is the source of water for both human and animals is now completely dry which is unusual. The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that the price of maize (staple food) has increased from an average of Tshs 50 (USD 0.062) to Tshs. 175 (USD 0.22) per kilo.

Mbugwe - Babati district (Arusha region)

Mbugwe division is a semi arid area receiving 500-750 mm of rainfall in a normal year. According to reports from a local church more than 300 families are in dire need of food with some people going without food for up to 2 days at a time. Some schools have closed because children and parents are wandering away in search of food, surviving on wild leaves, roots and eating their dying animals Water wells have dried up and people have to walk up to 40 kilometres in search of water. The Church, in collaboration with village relief committees, is asking for 120 MT of relief food.

Igurubi- Nzega (Tabora region)

A Moravian Church development worker in the area have reported that due to a prolonged dry spell, the maize and other crops have wilted. Consequently, at least 18 people with 4,600 heads of cattle have moved to other areas in search of pastures.

CCT is continuing to monitor the situation and an appeal may or may not be forthcoming depending on information received.

Thank you for your attention.

ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response. The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.