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Friday, 19 July, 2002, 08:51 GMT 09:51 UK
UN seeks money for African famine
Food being distributed in Malawi
UN says nearly 13 million people in southern Africa are at risk
The United Nations has made an urgent appeal for more than $600m in aid to avert starvation in southern Africa.

UN food aid appeal for southern Africa
Target: more than $600m
Zimbabwe: $285m for more than six million people
Malawi: $144m for more than 2.3 million people
Zambia: $71m for more than 2.3 million people
Mozambique: $44m for more than 500,000 people
Lesotho: $41m for nearly 500,000 people
Swaziland: $19 m for nearly 150,000 people
$6.8m for regional needs
The appeal says that nearly 13 million people in six countries - about half of them children - are "on the very edge of survival" as a result of drought, Aids and also government mismanagement.

"There is still an opportunity to avert famine and to save lives, but the window is closing rapidly," UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said in a statement.

The money is earmarked for Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and it will be used over the next year for immediate food supplies.

UN officials have singled out Zimbabwe as the worst-affected country, where half of the population - more than six million people - is threatened with starvation.

'Man-made crisis'

A separate UN report attributes the crisis in Zimbabwe to the government's policy of confiscating white-owned farms and handing them over to smallholders.


Famine crisis:








"A democratic government places the welfare of its people first and takes necessary actions to counter threats such as famine. In every respect, the Mugabe regime has failed in this," US envoy Sichan Siv said.

Zimbabwe - which used to be known as the bread basket of Southern Africa - will receive $285m, which is by far the biggest share of the money.

But the BBC's UN correspondent Greg Barrow says persuading donors to contribute money to an aid operation in a nation where the government's policy decisions in the farming sector have contributed directly to the crisis is difficult.

He says that the government in Harare is not making it any easier, as Zimbabwe defends the land reform as the long-term solution to the nation's food shortages.

Regional funds

The UN says that, of the remaining money, $144m will be earmarked for Malawi, where more than three million people will require food aid by the end of the year.

Victim of famine
People with HIV/Aids are especially vulnerable to hunger

Zambia - where more than two million people are facing starvation - will get $71m.

The UN says Mozambique - where about 70% of the population is living below the poverty line - will receive $71m.

Lesotho is earmarked to get $41m in emergency aid to help about a fifth of the country's 2.2 million people facing hardship.

Swaziland - where nearly 150,000 people are in need of food aid - would get $19m.

The UN says the remaining funds will be used to deal with the food crisis at the regional level.


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See also:

16 Jul 02 | Africa
07 Jun 02 | Africa
06 Jun 02 | Africa
30 May 02 | Africa
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