BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 22 May, 2002, 03:08 GMT 04:08 UK
Europe sends aid to Malawi
Baby in Malawi
Possibly the worst African food crisis since 1984
The European Union has announced that it will immediately provide 95,000 tonnes of emergency supplies to famine-threatened Malawi.

The country is facing an immediate shortfall of 700,000 tonnes of food, which it says it needs if it is to avert widespread hunger and the deaths of up to three million people.

The BBC Africa correspondent, Rageh Omaar, says he saw field after field of dead maize during a recent visit to Malawi, during what should be the harvest season.

The United States and Britain have also pledged food aid.

'Drastic shortages'

The EU's move came as aid agency Save the Children warned that unless decisive action was taken, southern Africa faced a huge famine.

It said that up to 19 million people in six countries - from Malawi in the north of the region to Lesotho in the south - were facing drastic food shortages caused by a combination of erratic rainfall and floods followed by drought.

Workers in a Malawi maize field
Malawi's maize crop has been decimated by floods and drought
In Zimbabwe, politics took a hand, with land seizures disrupting the commercial farms that normally turn in most of the food crop.

Save the Children says the region faces a food crisis on a scale that hasn't been seen for nearly 20 years, since the 1984 Ethiopian famine claimed nearly a million lives.

The United Nations World Food Programme is already trying to feed more than two and a half million people in the region, and says it is preparing for a rise in that number.

Aid agencies and donor organisations are planning to meet in South Africa next month, to discuss the needs of the region.

Meanwhile, a Southern African Development Community meeting in Swaziland concluded with a pledge by member states to find regional solutions to the problem.

"Millions of our people are going to bed on empty stomachs and as leaders we should come up with a regional policy which would help address this," Acting Swazi Prime Minister Arthur Khoza said at the end of the two-day meeting.

Proposals include the bulk buying of maize supplies.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nick Hawton
"Aid agencies say 19 million people are at risk of famine across South Africa"
Malawi agriculture minister, Aleke Banda
"It was argued by donors that we may be short of maize but we had other food."
Mark Wright of Save the Children
"19 million people could be affected"

Key stories

Horn of Africa

Southern Africa

West Africa

Ways to help

CLICKABLE MAP

IN DEPTH

TALKING POINT
See also:

06 Mar 02 | Africa
19 Feb 02 | Africa
27 Feb 02 | Africa
07 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes