Press Releases

    SG/SM/8493
    AFR/514
    15 November 2002

    SECRETARY-GENERAL APPEALS FOR CONTINUED HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO SOUTHERN AFRICA; EXPRESSES PARTICULAR CONCERN ABOUT ZIMBABWE

    NEW YORK, 14 November (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for the Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    The Secretary-General expresses his grave concern about the humanitarian crisis in Southern Africa. He appeals to the international community to continue to provide additional assistance.

    He remains especially concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe which is deteriorating fast, and where almost 7 million people will very soon be in need of food aid. The Secretary-General notes the continuing reports of politicization in food distribution and humanitarian assistance in general. Those distributing aid have an obligation to ensure that it is given to beneficiaries based on their needs and not upon political affiliation. The Secretary-General fully supports the zero tolerance policy on the politicization of food distribution established by the World Food Programme.

    He appeals to the Government of Zimbabwe to hold to its commitment to ensure that political considerations do not affect food aid efforts within the country. The international community must be vigilant in ensuring that relief is made quickly to the people in Zimbabwe.

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