Red Cross drive in southern Africa

Georgina Lock

The British Red Cross has launched an awareness-raising campaign in a bid to avert an "impending catastrophe" in southern Africa.

Diane Moody, southern Africa expert at the British Red Cross, said: "The situation is rapidly deteriorating and, with limited stores of food and rising prices, many people just won't survive until the next harvest."

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is appealing for £17m to provide 1.5 million people with food assistance, water, sanitation and seeds. However, Mark Astarita, fundraising director at the British Red Cross, said that although the charity had opened channels for public donations, it would limit advertising while funds were still needed for Pakistan earthquake relief.

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