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FAO renews Appeal For Southern Africa - 2002-10-22

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the FAO, is renewing its appeal for more funds to ward off famine in five southern Africa countries. The appeal was made Monday in Rome at a meeting between senior FAO officials and representatives from donor countries.

The FAO says, “More than fourteen million people need emergency food aid in drought-stricken southern Africa. One of the worst affected areas is Zimbabwe, where more than half of the population is suffering from severe food shortages. Winter harvests are expected to be scarce and the situation risks deteriorating even further.”

Richard China, head of the FAO’s Rehabilitation and Humanitarian Policies Unit, says the agency has only received about one-third of the funds it originally appealed for in mid August. He says Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia need emergency assistance now.

However, he says donors want assurances that if they provide aid for Zimbabwe, it will get to those in need. Critics of the Zimbabwean government fear it may hoard the supplies.

Mr. China spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua from Rome.