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Danish Families Taught About Famine

September 26, 2002

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) _ For the next week, 20 Danish families will subsist on the same meager rations as famine-stricken residents of southern Africa surviving on emergency food aid.

The Danish Red Cross distributed the food packages to the families, all volunteers, on Thursday in an effort to give ``a more realistic idea of what it means to live off emergency food packages,″ agency spokesman Claes Amundsen said.

``A looming famine disaster in southern Africa seems very distant to many Danes, so we decided to do this to bring it closer.″

The Red Cross has launched a $62 million appeal to help feed those most in need. The food shortage, expected to reach its peak in the next few months, has left about 12.8 million people in several southern African countries at risk.

The food packages given to each family member contained 4.4 pounds of flour, 4.4 pounds of pasta, 17 1/2 ounces of beans, two packs of powdered yeast, a quarter-gallon of cooking oil, 5.25 ounces of sugar and 1.75 ounces of salt. They cost $6.60 each.

``This corresponds to what people in distress typically receive from the Red Cross,″ Amundsen said. ``This should give them a realistic picture of what it means to live off relief aid.″

The families are allowed to add water and spices, but not meat or vegetables. They also received advice from a nutritionist.

The Red Cross announced last week it was looking for 20 families to participate and received more than 100 replies.

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