Friday, 16 January 2004

Rome (Fides Service)- “The situation has certainly improved: the last harvest was good and the food emergency is under control, but malnutrition is chronic as FAO and World Food Programme have announced. More than 7 million people cannot live without food aid”. This is part of a statement issued by VIS (Volunteers for Development) sponsored by the Salesian Fathers. VIS President Antonio Raimondi has just returned from missions to Ethiopia and Burundi, where VIS has undertaken important projects.
To help Ethiopia in 2004 VIS intends to support 8 feeding centres for children, projects for digging water wells for at least 50 villages and building two professional training centres, one in Addis Ababa, where the foundation stone was laid on 6 January and the other in Dilla in southern Ethiopia.
With regard to Burundi the VIS statement says: “despite the latest bloody attempt to stop talks to reach a solution for the civil war, a lasting peace agreement can still be reached: President Domitien Ndayizeye in presently in Europe where he hopes to obtain help and economic support from the European Community. On 20 January the FNL National Liberation Forces rebels will meet government members in view of resuming peace talks. The country is in ruins and the people dispirited but Boys Town in Bujumbura remains a point of reference for the local youngsters and a visible proof that education can lay the foundations for peaceful coexistence among peoples of different ethnic origin”. (L.M.) (Fides Service 16/1/2004, lines 25 words 291)