The United States
will provide an additional 73,500 metric tons of food aid
to southern Africa – enough to feed more than 5 million
people for one month, the U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID) says.
In an August 12 news release, USAID said
that the administration has decided to send more food based
on the concern that poor harvest and worsening economic
conditions will lead to widespread hunger in countries such
as Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Additional supplies of bulgur wheat, cornmeal,
sorghum, peas, beans and vegetable oil will reach the target
areas through the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), it said.
The WFP hailed the U.S. decision in an August
15 news release, saying: “By stepping in early with
such a sizeable donation, the United States is among the
first donors to enable WFP to respond effectively to the
needs of millions of people, especially vulnerable children,
before their needs become critical.”
Following is the text of the USAID release:
U.S. Agency for International Development
USAID Announces Additional Food Assistance
for Southern Africa
U.S. Food Assistance to Southern Africa
for 2005 Reaches 143,000 Tons
August 12, 2005
WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID) announced today it will provide an additional
73,500 metric tons of US Title II food commodities to southern
Africa through the World Food Program (WFP).
USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios said
the U.S. government is making the decision to allocate additional
aid to southern Africa based on concerns that conditions
for widespread hunger exist. Administrator Natsios said
the contribution of bulgur wheat, cornmeal, sorghum, vegetable
oil, peas, and beans will sustain approximately 5-6 million
people for one month and is valued at $51.8 million.
"The United States is leading the world
effort to prevent a widespread humanitarian crisis from
developing in southern Africa," Administrator Natsios
said. "Thanks to the generosity of the American people,
millions of Africans facing hunger will be fed. This assistance
is part of President Bush's commitment to lift the people
of Africa out of poverty and finally break the cycle of
This most recent donation brings total U.S.
food assistance to southern Africa this year to 143,000
tons. An additional US contribution to our PVO (private
voluntary organizations) partners is anticipated this month.
There are also approximately 65,000 tons of donor commodities
already in the region.
Poor rainfall in the 2004/2005 growing season
reduced harvests in many areas throughout the region, greatly
worsening an already chronic food insecurity situation.
The poor harvests, coupled with underlying
problems of poverty, illness and economic decline, have
left over 10 million people in need of food assistance over
the coming months. Up to a million metric tons of food aid
may be needed between now and next year's harvest in order
to meet these needs in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland,
Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The U.S. government has delivered approximately
one million metric tons of food aid valued at $600 million
since the beginning of 2002, including this contribution,
and is the biggest donor to WFP's operations in southern
Africa. WFP is currently appealing to the international
community for $410 million to feed 8 million people until
the spring harvest in March 2006.
USAID has been actively involved in responding
to the food security situation in southern Africa since
early 2002. The current situation is serious and will worsen
in the coming months. The United States expects to ship
more food in the coming months to address the urgent and
growing humanitarian needs. Given the enormity of the need,
the United States is urging other donors to contribute to
the regional humanitarian food requirements as well.