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  • Christine Chumbler
    Apr 3, 2002
      Malawi food crisis plan to cost $150-million

      Malawi wants to spend 6,8 billion kwacha ($150-million) to combat its devastating
      hunger crisis, a statement from Vice President Justin Malewezi's office said on
      Saturday

      SAPA-AFP

      The statement, issued after Malewezi held discussions with donors in the
      administrative capital Lilongwe this week, said half the amount would address
      medium-term food security issues.

      Assistance to flood victims and cholera control will each cost five million dollars, the
      statement added, without saying how the programs would be funded.

      The food crisis began in part last year, when the worst floods in living memory struck
      the nation. Drought this year has caused crops to fail, leaving the nation with severe
      food shortages.

      Malnutrition has left the population more
      vulnerable to disease, including cholera,
      which has claimed 503 lives since the
      outbreak began in November.

      More than 300 people starved to death in
      January and February alone, according to
      civic and church groups.

      Malawi also needs to replenish its
      strategic grain reserves, after 60 000 tons
      of the staple maize were sold to Kenya last year in a corruption scandal.

      Spending will also include a supplementary feeding program for the chronically ill, the
      elderly and other vulnerable groups. Agriculture secretary Anddrina Mchiela was
      quoted by the media on Saturday as saying that the government has responded to
      the worst hunger in living memory by supporting supplementary feeding programs for
      pregnant women and children under five.

      Up to 76% of the country's 11-million people have no food, according to official
      figures. - Sapa-AFP

      *****

      Zimbabwe media chief
      quits

      Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation chief
      executive Alum Mpofu has resigned amid a
      government inquiry into his sexuality.

      The state-run corporation said Mr Mpofu was
      leaving for personal reasons and his resignation
      would take effect immediately.

      He was quoted by state-run media as saying
      his decision followed reports of impropriety on
      his part.

      The government launched an inquiry after
      allegations that Mr Mpofu was caught "in a
      compromising situation" with another man at a
      night club.

      President Robert Mugabe has repeatedly
      denounced homosexuals, describing them as
      "worse than pigs and dogs".

      Mr Mpofu, who is 43 and married with three
      children, was recruited to the ZBC from the
      South African Broadcasting Corporation last
      year.

      Last month, Zimbabwe enacted a new law
      curbing the activities of independent and
      foreign news media.
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