Mozambique in grave need of food relief

MAPUTO - Nearly half a million people need food aid in Mozambique because food prices are high and crops have been badly hit by poor rains, the government said yesterday.

MAPUTO - Nearly half a million people need food aid in Mozambique because food prices are high and crops have been badly hit by poor rains, the government said yesterday.

The ministry of agriculture said 450000 people need food assistance and 150000 face a critical situation in the southern and central areas of the country.

"The families in the affected region are getting by on one meal a day and, in addition to the lack of rain and high food prices, there is a lack of food reserves," the ministry said.

Mozambique said the late start of the rainy season, which normally begins in October, had increased the probability of prolonged drought conditions in the south until next month and a food shortage into February.

The UN World Food Programme in Mozambique last month appealed for R240million in humanitarian assistance to victims of floods and drought.

It said there was an acute food shortage and that the government had asked the WFP to increase its humanitarian assistance in seven provinces until the next harvest in April.

The central and southern provinces are still recovering from devastating floods and drought that occurred early this year. - Reuters

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