SEATTLE -- Save the Children and CARE today announced a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide emergency food aid for more than two million people -many of them children- who are suffering from starvation in the southern African country of Malawi.
Malawi and the Southern Africa region are facing their worst food shortages in nearly a decade. The scarcity of food is due to a series of related problems: lack of rainfall, depleted supply of emergency grain reserves and low production levels of maize and fertilizer. High incidences of HIV/AIDS in most of the region and a recent outbreak of cholera in Malawi also have contributed to the crisis.
"The food shortage in South Africa is dire. With nearly 70 percent of the population affected, we cannot afford to overlook this critical situation," said Charles MacCormack, President and CEO of Save the Children. "Though this generous grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will allow us to take immediate action to address this devastating food crisis, more resources are urgently needed to help the children and families who are suffering."
"Hunger is setting in and people are dying," said Peter Bell, President of CARE. "Millions of men, women and children are at risk and we need to head off this impending disaster. From Malawi to Zimbabwe, CARE is stepping up its activities. We encourage communities and institutions across the globe to get involved to save lives."
Both agencies will use the grant to provide emergency relief to feed hungry children and to build on their existing programs in Malawi to help communities with food needs. Save the Children and CARE, which have a long-standing presence in Malawi, recently expanded their programs in response to the food shortage crisis. CARE has increased its agricultural activities and is distributing extra cuttings of cassava, a fast growing staple food, for farmers to plant. Save the Children is currently distributing maize and corn soya blend in four districts of Malawi. Together, Save the Children and CARE will begin a house-to-house survey in six districts of Malawi on May 15 to determine to what degree families are suffering from malnutrition and to check the status of their food supplies.