Craig Timberg, Washington Post, Jun. 23
JOHANNESBURG, June 22 — A U. N. special envoy warned Tuesday that southern Africa was plagued by widespread food shortages, poverty and AIDS deaths that were leaving behind millions of orphans and destabilizing societies.
“What is happening in southern Africa absolutely represents the most serious humanitarian crisis in the world today,” the envoy, James T. Morris, said at a news conference here.
Morris visited Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Namibia over the past week but reserved some of his strongest language to describe conditions in Zimbabwe, a deteriorating nation whose leaders declined to meet with him.
Nearly 5 million Zimbabweans are vulnerable to hunger in the year ahead, and life expectancy has fallen to 33 because of an HIV rate that is among the highest in the world, with one out of three non-elderly adults infected, Morris said.
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