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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Food for children is running out in Southern Africa
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¬†The Catholic aid agency CAFOD says more aid is needed to feed thousands of vulnerable children in Zimbabwe. In areas such as Matabeleland the agency says it has only around ten days' worth of food left to feed youngsters who rely on its supplementary feeding programmes. The children make up just a small number of the millions of people who are at risk as severe food shortages continue to grip the whole of Southern Africa. Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe are the countries that have been worst affected by the shortages caused by two years of drought. CAFOD's regional representative in Harare, Richard Miller, said: "We have been providing supplementary feeding for 100,000 very vulnerable children in schools in rural areas for the past six months, but the food supplies are running out. In some areas we only have ten days' worth of food left. We are having difficulties finding food to buy as it has become so scarce and the prices have soared - the price of the porridge we give to the children has gone up by 300 per cent. We have got some time on our side but we need to plan now for the crisis that is looming later in the year. "Our funding for this programme is coming to an end in July and we are currently looking around for more money. We can't wait until children are starving to get a response - we need to act now." CAFOD started the feeding programmes in Zimbabwe last year after a poor harvest left many families short of food. It was designed to help them through to this year's April harvest. But again the yields have been very poor - many families had no harvest at all while others have only managed to gather enough maize to last them a few months. Tim Aldred of CAFOD's emergency response team said: "We are monitoring the situation very closely. The shortages are likely to get much worse later in the year when the current harvest starts running out. We need to be planning a response now as food aid can take months to organise." CAFOD's Zimbabwe programme is funded by a £650,000 grant from the Department of International Development.
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