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Food Situation in Mozambique and Angola I thank you for this opportunity to address the committee on the food situation in southern Africa. In view of the growing interest on this topic, I would like to provide background information for perspective and some key points regarding the U.S. response thus far to food and other emergency needs in Mozambique and Angola.
Nature and Scope
of Mozambique's Food Crisis
The major food crisis in southern Africa at this time is in Mozambique. Mozambique is no stranger to food shortages, having suffered severely from the drought which gripped southern Africa 1981-85, and in the past from other natural disasters and from economic policies which discouraged food production and distribution. At present, however, the primary cause of the food emergency in Mozambique is civil strife. Normal food production, distribution, and marketing have been disrupted by attacks on farms, rail and road networks, as well as food relief convoys. Intense fighting between RENAMO [Mozambique National Resistance Movement] and government forces in the central provinces has caused people to flee from their homes, abandoning farms or not planting crops.
As a result, the Government of Mozambique now estimates that some 3.2 million Mozambicans are considered "at-risk" due to food shortages. Another 3.3 million rely on food assistance from the international donor community, but they buy this food in the market and are not identified as being at-risk.
The U.S. Response
The United States has played a leading role in assessing the extent of the crisis and in organizing and contributing to the international community's response in Mozambique. In early January 1987, our ambassador determined that a disaster situation existed and requested emergency food and disaster relief aid. In February, we called on the UN Secretary General [Javier Perez de Cuellar] to appoint a special coordinator for relief operations in Mozambique, which he did …