n African Security Review - The World Food Programme's response to the Southern African humanitarian crisis : moving food : feature

Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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Fifteen million people across Southern Africa have exhausted their coping capacities and are now facing serious and potentially life-threatening shortages of food. Erratic weather, poor infrastructure, inadequate food security and government policies have converged with escalating HIV / AIDS rates, driving the most vulnerable populations in six countries to the brink of starvation. Initial projections found a cereal deficit of 4 million metric tons for the 2002/03 agricultural season, and identified the need for 1.2 million tons of emergency food aid. The UN World Food Programme gave early warnings of this impending food security crisis and expeditiously mobilised a regional response. This paper explores the key facets of the logistics of food aid delivery in the region. It compares the current emergency operation with that of 1992, and notes the devastating impact that HIV / AIDS is having on food security. While food is the critical ingredient to saving lives, programmes in agriculture, economic recovery, education, health, protection and human rights, and water and sanitation must all simultaneously be supported if recovery is to take hold.

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