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  1. Published on: 08/01/2020 06:47 PMReported by: rogerblaxall
    By Barry Dickinson

    Thousands of people at risk of starvation in Southern Africa will be receiving emergency food packs and urgent humanitarian assistance, thanks to a grant of £50,000 from West Lancashire Freemasons to Plan International UK.

    An estimated 45 million people across Southern Africa are likely to be affected by record high temperatures and low rainfall, which has led to the worst drought for 35 years.

    The world-famous Victoria Falls has become a trickle and Lake Kariba, a critical water source for both Zambia and Zimbabwe, is only 16 per cent full. An estimated 70 per cent of rural water sources in Zimbabwe have dried up.

    Last year, Cyclones Idai and Kenneth caused widespread and very destructive flooding across the region, leaving already fragile communities in a poor state to deal with this fresh catastrophe.

    Combined with the volatile political and economic situation in many states, the price of food has risen sharply. Families have been forced to reduce the quantity and frequency of meals, and often forgo healthcare. Many children are missing school to help support their families, affecting their long-term futures.

    Freemasons from West Lancashire have contributed to the grant that comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

    Rose Caldwell, Chief Executive of Plan International UK, said: “We’re very grateful for this generous grant which will allow Plan International to reach thousands of people suffering from severe shortages of food. It is critical that we act now to provide this support to those most at risk”

    Tony Harrison, leader of West Lancashire Freemasons said: “I’m very pleased we have been able to help Plan International with their relief effort in Southern Africa. It’s clear that millions of people are at risk of a serious lack of food and clean water. This is a desperate situation and Plan and the other organisations helping on the ground need all the help and support we in the outside world can offer.”

    Pictured - farmland in Panda district, Mozambique devastated by the long-running drought.
     

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