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Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 07:11 GMT
UN sounds warning on Africa famine
People queuing for food aid with their identity cards in Zimbabwe
The WFP says political decisions play a huge role
Africa faces a major crisis with hunger threatening 38 million people, but there is a lack of political will to tackle it, the UN food agency has warned.


In the end, hunger is a political creation and we must use political means to end it

James Morris
WFP Executive Director
WFP Executive Director James Morris told a UN Security Council meeting that the full scale of the situation had not yet been grasped by the international community.

According to the agency, as of December nearly 18 million people were at risk of starving in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan.

Another 16.4 million in seven southern African states, and 2.7 million in the Great Lakes region were in the same predicament.

"Political decisions by some African governments, and by the governments of the developed world, have made it hard for the continent to feed itself," Mr Morris told the council.

"There is not enough money to feed those starving today, and trade and economic policies - national and international - make it unlikely all will be fed in the future," he said.

Politics blamed

Mr Morris said that last year, the WFP had fed 77 million people in 82 countries, but that it was having to cut off rations because of a lack of money.

"For the short term, we need a major infusion of funds for humanitarian relief and stronger and better co-operation from recipient governments," he said.

Mr Morris said the agency was far too dependent on the US, which provided 62% of all food aid worldwide last year, and called on other donor countries to up their contributions.

But money was only part of the problem, according to the WFP. Lack of food in many areas was the result of politics, Mr Morris said.

Violence and hunger "go hand in hand", particularly in Liberia and Ivory Coast.

"People are hungry because their governments have made the wrong political decisions," he said.

"In the end, hunger is a political creation and we must use political means to end it."


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