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 Thursday, 26 December, 2002, 03:34 GMT
UN criticises Malawi famine handling
Grain supplies
Food aid distributed by agencies is not enough

The World Food Programme says lessons must be learnt from the way that international funding organisations have dealt with the hunger crisis in Malawi.

The government sold off its entire grain reserves shortly before the drought struck - it says it was following the advice of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Baby
The numbers of those facing starvation are growing
The money generated has not been accounted for.

Malawi is one of the seven countries in southern Africa facing critical food shortages and, this month, more than two million Malawians are short of food.

Next month the number will rise to three and a half million, according to government figures.

Aid agencies are supplying the amount of food they have targeted for the country but it is still not enough.

Post-mortem

In a place with two thirds of the people living in poverty in normal times, choosing who receives aid and who does not becomes a terrible decision for NGOs and village elders to make.

The selling off of the national grain reserves just before the drought has been blamed for seriously deepening the crisis.

The government in Malawi blames the IMF and the World Bank for forcing it to sell grain to repay loans.

But the money has not been accounted for, and the IMF says it gave no such advice.

The World Food Programme is providing the food aid.

It says the way Malawi's crisis was handled by the international bodies will be a significant part of the post-mortem when the crisis eventually comes to an end.


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26 Nov 02 | Health
04 Sep 02 | Africa
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