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Southern Africa Food Crisis Update - 2002-05-29

The World Food Program says Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho are expected to need emergency food aid until the next harvest in March and April of 2003. Zambia and Swaziland may require similar assistance. Drought, floods and political instability are blamed for much of the problem.

There’s good news, however. The WFP says emergency food supplies have started to arrive. Recently, thirty-three thousand metric tons of food from the United States arrived in Dar es Salaam destined for Malawi and Zambia. Judith Lewis, the WFP’s regional director for East and Southern Africa, says more food shipments are expected from the United States, European Union and other donors.

Ms. Lewis says she would not classify the food crisis as a famine because large numbers of people are not dying or leaving their homes to search for food. Ms. Lewis says, “Everybody now realizes the scope, the width and the depth” of the problem. She says she is optimistic because a “tremendous amount of assistance” will be going to southern African countries over the next three months. Judith Lewis spoke with English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua.