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Last Updated: Friday, 9 September 2005, 09:27 GMT 10:27 UK
Malawi appeal gets 'not a penny'
Malawian villagers
Malawi is one of the world's poorest countries
The United Nation's $88m food appeal for Malawi has received not a single penny, the organisation has said.

Jan Egeland, the UN relief coordinator, called on donors particularly those in the Gulf states benefiting from high oil prices to help out.

The UN launched an appeal last month for the more than 4m Malawians who are facing hunger after the worst harvest in a decade.

The majority of Malawians live on less than a dollar a day.

On Wednesday, British aid agency Oxfam said that up to 10m people in southern Africa could face severe food shortages later this year unless wealthy nations take immediate action.


"We have received zero pledges for this appeal," Mr Egeland announced 10 days after the UN had called for assistance.

Malawi: 4m
Zimbabwe: 4m
Zambia: 1m
Lesotho: 500,000
Mozambique: 400,000
Swaziland: 200,000
Source: Oxfam

He asked oil-producing nations to be more generous with their share of profits from high oil prices on world markets.

"There are many countries in the Gulf and elsewhere who have received an enormous windfall from these oil prices. We can save a life for a $1 a day," he told reporters.

About 4.2m of Malawi's 11m people face hunger. Maize production this year stood at 1.3 million tonnes, far short of the 2.1 million tonnes needed to stave off famine.

Oxfam began to distribute food in Malawi this week, but they say they need far more.

The charity says people could face food shortages in a belt of countries including Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

HIV hits farming

Southern Africa was weakened by severe food shortages leading to major international appeals in 2002, and drought this year has been worse than it was then, aid agencies say.

They are urging donors not to ignore the lessons of Niger's food crisis, when early warnings of hunger went unheeded and little was done until television cameras showed children starving to death.

These appeals come as scientists warned that farming in Africa has declined at an alarming rate since the start of the Aids epidemic.

The virus is ravaging agriculture, with the areas of cultivated land dropping in parts of Kenya by 68%, the British Association of Science Festival revealed on Wednesday.

Some 80% of Africans derive their livelihood from farming, so it is vital to the continent's economic growth.

Southern Africa has some of the world's highest rates of HIV infection, with between 30% and 40% of the adult population HIV positive.

Can aid do more harm than good?
27 Aug 05 |  Africa


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