WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced that it is providing an additional $4.8 million in response to the deteriorating food security situation throughout Southern Africa.

This assistance will help in the most affected areas of Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. This support from the American people will care for malnourished children, help local farmers grow enough food to provide for their families in the coming months and improve health in vulnerable communities by providing clean water and sanitation facilities.

These programs complement USAID's ongoing food assistance to the six affected Southern African countries of Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. More than 12 million people are currently in need of emergency food assistance as a result of a poor 2004/2005 agricultural harvest caused by erratic rainfall, chronic poverty, HIV/AIDS pandemic and government mismanagement.

This most recent contribution comes from USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. Since June 2005, USAID's Office of Food for Peace has provided more than 380,000 thousand metric tons of emergency food assistance valued at nearly $280 million to the U.N. World Food Program and the Consortium for Southern Africa Food Security Emergency, an emergency food assistance program that comprises CARE, Catholic Relief Services and World Vision International.

Food commodities provided include corn, corn meal, beans, oil, corn soy blend, sorghum, bulgur and wheat.

In addition to this emergency relief, USAID also supports ongoing bilateral programs in several of these countries, such as Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, that include interventions aimed at achieving longer-term and more sustainable improvements in agricultural productivity and incomes and rural livelihoods.

SOURCE: U.S. Agency for International Development via PR Newswire.