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Africa

2003-10-20

AFRICA/MALAWI - FOOD EMERGENCY ACUTE SITUATION OVER. BUT POOREST PEOPLE STILL AT RISK. CATHOLICS OFFER FULL AID COMMITMENT

Lilongwe (Fides Service) - Zambia and Malawi have overcome the acute stage of a serious food crisis affecting various southern African countries. In fact the UN World Food Programme WFP reports that cereal harvests were 22 times greater than in the previous year. This marked improvement is due to two factors, climatic conditions and widespread distribution of seeds and fertilisers. WFP continued to supply food aid even after March until the end of June to ensure that farmers did not eat green maize since this would have reduced harvest consistence.
Although in Malawi the food crisis is no longer acute, hundreds of thousands of the poorest people are still in conditions of serious food insecurity because they lack the means to buy food, not even food government subsidised supplies.
The universal Church has helped considerably to provide assistance to these hungry people. According to local Fides’ sources the first emergency intervention came precisely from the Catholic Church. When the crisis broke, Caritas Internationalis and the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Pope’s charity arm asked Caritas Malawi and Caritas Zambia to draw up emergency aid plans on the basis of which requests for help were sent to national Caritas offices all over the world. Thanks to a capillary network of parishes and missions aid provided by the generosity of Catholics all over the world is distributed to people in need. LM (Fides Service 20/10/2003 EM lines 26 Words: 276)

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