Press Releases

22 July 2002

Secretary-General Calls for International Partnership to Avert Famine in Southern Africa

NEW YORK, 19 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the launch of the Consolidated National Appeals for the Humanitarian Crisis in Southern Africa, delivered on his behalf by Kenzo Oshima, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, in New York on 18 July:

You have gathered at a critical moment in the lives of nearly 13 million people in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In a region already struggling to overcome the legacy of conflict and the debilitating effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, a severe food security crisis has developed. There is still an opportunity to avert famine and to save lives, but this window is closing rapidly.

Today the United Nations is requesting $611 million for immediate food and other life-sustaining support. This assistance will address food security needs, livelihoods, and the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases.

With your support, we can save lives today. But we must also take a longer-term perspective. For this reason, I have decided to appoint James Morris, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, as my Special Envoy on the humanitarian crisis in southern Africa. Mr. Morris will travel to the region and work with the governments to review the humanitarian situation, current relief efforts and contingency planning, in order to ensure coherent and complete response to the crisis. He will also collaborate with donors to ensure that contributions are channeled in the most efficient manner to those in the greatest need.

I call on the international community and the countries concerned to join hands with the United Nations in a partnership to avert another human tragedy on the African continent.

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