Independent Catholic News logo Welcome Visitor
Saturday, December 3, 2016
CAFOD calls for urgent action to avoid famine in South Africa
Comment Email Print
¬†"Don't come back at Christmas time and start trying to do something then. It will be too late. Now is the time to act." This is the message given to staff from the Catholic aid agency CAFOD by its partners working in Southern Africa this week as they warned about the food crisis looming in the region. The head of CAFOD's Harare office, Richard Miller and Emergency Support Officer James Thornberry have just returned from a fact-finding mission in Zimbabwe and Malawi and stress that if action is not taken now, by the autumn the region will be facing a famine. The poor harvest in Malawi means that by August, food supplies will have run dry and it is estimated that the country will need 600,000 metric tonnes of food. Across the border in Zimbabwe, there is an even greater crisis looming with a food shortfall of around 1.8m tonnes. Across the whole Southern Africa region, including Zambia and Angola, it is estimated that around 4m tonnes of food will be needed, the vast majority of which will need to be imported from overseas. Poor transport routes within the region mean that the speed at which food can be brought in is severely limited, therefore it is vitally important to start relief operations rolling as soon as possible. James Thornberry said: "The nurse in charge of the feeding centre in the Zomba diocese of Malawi, said that it was back in August 2001 last year that she first saw people coming in with hunger related problems. She also told us that approximately 800,000 people in Malawi are HIV positive and with their immunity already compromised, not having anything to eat significantly increased their vulnerability to disease. The causes of the food crisis in Malawi are not simple but the results for the people there are brutal and unremitting." In Zimbabwe, CAFOD is strengthening its current food distribution programme and estimates that funds of up to £3m will be needed to both feed up to 200,000 of the most vulnerable in the immediate district as well as distributing seeds to needy farmers. In Malawi, CAFOD has already contributed resources towards an appeal from CADECOM (the Catholic Development Commission). The causes of the current crisis are complex. The erratic weather patterns in the region have played a major part. While in 2000 floods washed away the harvest in some regions, in 2001 and 2002 many of the same areas have suffered severe droughts. Next year a full blown El Nino drought threatens further problems. The high rate of HIV throughout the region (with between 15% and 30% of the population affected) has meant that many people were either too sick to cultivate their land or were looking after sick people and so unable to tend their crops. In addition poor governance in a number of countries in the region has meant that governments have not been very responsive to the urgent food needs of their populations. Figures released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme this week warned that up to 10 million people are threatened by famine in the region and need. It estimated that over the next year nearly 4 million tonnes of food will need to be imported to meet the minimum requirements of the population
Share:  Bookmark and Share
Tags: None


Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: