BY LUKE COPPEN
MII.LIONS of people in southern Africa are facing famine, Cafod warned this week.
Hundreds of people have already died of starvation as Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe struggle to cope with a third successive year of drought.
Cafod, the overseas aid agency of the bishops of England and Wales, has sent £50,000 of aid to the worst affected regions. The money will provide emergency food supplies to 78,000 households.
Tim Aldred, a member of the charity's emergency response team, said: "The shortages are likely to get much worse later in the year when the current harvest starts running out. We need to be planning a response now as food aid can take months to organise."
In Malawi, between three and four million people may be facing starvation by the end of the year.
Dr Nicholas Mkwapata, national director of Cafod's partner organisation, Caritas Malawi, said: "The situation is very bad. There is a hunger crisis. Many people are starving. The situation will deteriorate because people have been so hungry that they have been eating unripe maize, which means the next harvest will be poor."
"DEAR brothers and sisters, Psalm 81 (80) is an invitation to a joyful liturgical festival, a celebration of Israel's liberation from slavery, and a summons to renewed fidelity to the covenant.
"Only by remaining faithful to God's word and obeying his commandments will the chosen people receive the freedom and prosperity for which they long. These gifts are represented by wheat and honey, symbols of the abundant fruits of the promised land.
"The Church reads these verses in the light of the salvation offered in Jesus Christ, the Lord of life, who fulfills the hope of all who put their faith in him. In praying this psalm, Christians hear God's invitation to conversion and his offer of freedom and new life in the risen Lord.
"I am pleased to greet the members of the Gregorian University Foundation from the United States of America. 1 also greet the pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Colombo in Sri Lanka. Upon all the Englishspeaking pilgrims and visitors present at today's audience, especially those from England, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the United States, I cordially invoke the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ."