In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe has declared a ?state of disaster? as food shortages continue to mount. Mr. Mugabe says he took the action because of the continuing drought. But critics say the government?s seizure of white-own farms has contributed to the problem. The ?state of disaster? declaration follows months of warnings from both local and international humanitarian agencies.

The World Food Program is directly involved in relief efforts in Zimbabwe. Judith Lewis is the WFP?s regional director for east and southern Africa. From Kampala, Uganda, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about WFP operations in Zimbabwe. She says the WFP and other organizations are currently assessing the food shortage and expect to have that information in about three weeks. When that?s done, she says, the WFP will determine where the most vulnerable people are.

Ms. Lewis says there are also critical food problems in Malawi and Zambia and that Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland are facing food crises as well. The World Food Program says it?s been struggling to feed 2.6 million people in the region but does not have all the money and supplies it needs. It will issue another appeal for donor help in the coming weeks.