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Monday, December 30, 2002

The BBC's Alastair Leithead has produced a thoughtful piece on the multiple problems facing famine-afflicted countries in Southern Africa.

In Zambia GM food aid was refused and has subsequently had to be replaced.

In Zimbabwe the economy has collapsed due to misrule (it is also suspected that opposition areas are being denied urgently needed food aid).

In Lesotho the ability of farmers and families to survive a famine has been dramatically weakened by the AIDS epidemic and

In Malawi most the country's food stores were mistakenly sold off following poor, short-term advice from international lenders.

The report ends up concluding that "long term planning - irrigation, development and poverty reduction - are the only ways to prevent this from repeating itself every time the rains fail."

For more details on the needs of the 38 million people in 21 African countries currently facing famine I recommend taking a look at the World Food Programme's country-by-country summary.