LIFELINE MALAWI

Update

Dear Friends and Supporters of ICROSS CANADA,

Just a short update note to let you know the Compassionate Ministries have advised us that our container for LIFELINE MALAWI will leave Esquimalt on or about 15 Dec 05 via the good offices and assistance of our partner THE CMW and Mrs. Dell Wergeland. The packing goes well and we are busy doing the inventory. Since last update we have received the new Lab Fridge from Toronto and lots of school supplies from Ray and Laura MacKenzie in Northern BC – we still have not found anyone who knows about ex ray machines to have a look at the one we have been donated –

We contacted humanitarian MP Dr. Keith Martin who sent the info re the famine in Malawi to the various government departments. Our Government has given $1,000,000.00 towards the purchase of grain for this famine disaster. Thank you, Keith, for this wonderful assistance to the poorest of the suffering poor, in drought-stricken Malawi.

This is now a good opportunity for the UN to employ their “Responsibility to Protect” both with the pirates aboard the grain ships off the coast (they need a gunboat) and with the truck shipments transporting grain to the worst hit areas. The UN should keep the grain safe by use of UN CIVPOL members who will protect the shipments from the shiftas, the bandits, the DCs and other bureaucrats taking kitu kidogo, baksheesh and chai off the backs of the starving masses. Just a suggestion for whatever that is worth.

All goes well with our packing for LIFELINE MALAWI.
Be well and we wish many blessings upon you and all in your house

Billy
October 18, 2005

William Willbond
National President ICROSS CANADA
The International Community for the Relief of Starvation and Suffering
Post Office Box 3 Saanichton, British Columbia, V8M 2C3, Canada

Times Colonist
Canada – Monday October 17, 2005

Mass Starvation Looms In Malawi

By Clare Nullis
The Associated Press

MANKHOKWE, Malawi — Dona Kijani dives into a crocodile-infested river for water lilies, gambling with death to pull up tubers that are barely edible and give her children diarrhoea. She says it is her only source of food.

For Kijani and many of her neighbours in the dirt-poor southern tip of Malawi, water lilies have become a staple part of the diet as drought withers corn crops, worsening a malnutrition problem aggravated by poverty, corruption and AIDS.

“I have nothing else to give to my children,” the widowed mother of three young children said with a grimace, holding out some of the small, bitter-tasting, gnarled roots.

With the food crisis worsening, President Bingu wa Mutharika declared all of the southern African nation a “disaster area” Saturday and appealed for international help. He warned that five million people, almost half the population, are threatened with hunger.

Opposition politicians and civic leaders complained that the declaration should have come much sooner. But the president has been snarled in an impeachment battle with parliament leaders he has accused of hindering his campaign to clamp down on corruption.

Mutharika said the government would spend $50 million US to import 300,000 tonnes of corn from South Africa but that Malawi needs an additional 143,000 tonnes to help feed people until the next harvest in March or April.

Kijani is among those who need help.

“I’m desperate to be registered to receive food aid,” she said recently while standing with thousands of others in front of a dusty warehouse hoping in vain to receive the 50-kilogram monthly corn ration.

The scene at the Mankhokwe distribution centre was a microcosm of what is happening across all of southern Africa, where an estimated 12 million people will need food aid in the coming months because of drought, mismanagement and disease.

Malawi, already one of the world’s poorest nations, is the worst affected in the region. The long, landlocked country is no stranger to hunger, but aid groups fear the current food crisis will be the worst in a decade. Drought has been a blow, and with more than 14 per cent of Malawians infected with the AIDS virus, many farmers are too sick to work.

So far, donors have provided only $28 million for Malawi relief, far below the $88 million sought by the United Nations. Appeals for seed and fertilizer have gone mostly unheeded. Even once funds are promised it takes four months on average for the aid to reach hungry mouths.

“Our window of opportunity to help Malawi and the rest of the region is closing fast,” said Mike Sackett, southern Africa director for the World Food Program. “It will be too late once emaciated images appear on television screens,” he said, alluding to the recent crisis in the West African state of Niger.

Times Colonist Article
Canada – October 17, 2005

Mugabe Defies European Union Travel Ban To Speak On Hunger
Critics say African PM is to blame for food shortages in his own country

By David Blair In Johannesburg And Hilary Clarke In Rome
The Daily Telegraph

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe defied a European Union travel ban and flew to Rome after the United Nations sparked outrage by inviting him to address a conference on world hunger Monday.

Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Southern Africa and a major exporter of food, now depends on western aid to avoid starvation. Some four million Zimbabweans, a third of the entire population, need supplies from the World Food Programme.

The transformation from self-sufficiency to dependency coincided with Mugabe’s seizure of white-owned farms. He blames food shortages on a regional drought. But critics say hunger is the direct and predictable result of his policies. They are appalled that the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization, whose mission statement is “helping to build a world without hunger,” has invited Mugabe to address a conference in Rome marking its 60th anniversary.

Tony Hall, the U.S. ambassador to the UN food organisations in Rome, said: “My government is excited about the FAO event which is organized to remind people about hunger. However, my feeling is we shouldn’t be inviting someone who has absolutely turned his back on the poor in his own country. He has made a mockery about the hungry and everyone should be upset about this.”

Hall said that since 2002 the U.S. had donated almost $300 million in food aid to Zimbabwe. He visited Zimbabwe when the regime was engaged in bulldozing large areas of the poorest black townships. This campaign, personally ordered by Mugabe, destroyed the homes or livelihoods of 700,000 people and harmed another 2.4 million, according to a UN report.

“Going to Rome to celebrate World Food Day whilst millions of ordinary Zimbabweans face food shortages as a direct result of his flawed policies simply emphasise Mugabe’s skewed sense of priorities,” said a spokesman for the British Foreign Office.

“It’s a tragedy,” said Tendai Bid, from the leadership of Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change. “Inviting Mugabe sends exactly the wrong signal. He has completely destroyed the economic and agricultural fabric of this country. The UN shouldn’t play ping-pong with the suffering of the Zimbabwean people.”

An FAO spokesman said that as a member “in good standing” with the agency Mugabe was invited to attend. “The UN does things sometimes,” said Hall. “They rollover backwards to try to be fair but someone like this really mikes a mockery of what we are about.”

Mugabe accepted the FAO’s invitation on Friday and will speak at the organization’s headquarters. He seizes any opportunity to visit the western world and defy a travel ban imposed on him by the EU. This measure, introduced in 2002, supposedly prevents Mugabe and 94 other members of his regime from visiting any member state. An almost identical ban is in force in America.

Yet Mugabe repeatedly exploits a significant loophole. The travel ban does not apply to UN functions because these are held to be above the jurisdiction of any individual state. So Mugabe has frequently visited New York to address UN summits.