Emergency relief rations for Danish families

Published: 3 October 2002 0:00 CET

Claes Amundsen, in Copenhagen

For the past seven days, 20 Danish families have been living off emergency food relief packages distributed by the Danish Red Cross. The families volunteered to participate in an event aimed at raising public awareness of the food crisis in Southern Africa.

The point of the campaign was to bring home to the families the notion of what a looming famine situation really means and what it's like to have to live off emergency food packages.

More than 100 families responded to the Danish Red Cross call for volunteers last week, and 20 of them were chosen to participate in the campaign.

On 26 September, they each received a package containing 2 kilos of wheat flour, 2 kilos of pasta, 500 grams of white beans and some oil, yeast, salt and sugar. They promised to exchange their normal diet for the emergency rations.

"This initiative has been a real eye-opener for our little family", said Gitte Frolich, who has been living off the Danish Red Cross food rations along with a husband and two children.

"As the days went by, we got a bit tired and certainly bored with the very basic diet of pasta, beans and wheat. But at the same time, we have talked a lot about the situation among people who are really hungry," she adds. "It is important to remember that it is only the luckiest of the starving people that have access to such a parcel."

The event has attracted considerable media attention, with the families getting coverage in virtually every newspaper, radio and television station in the country.

The secretary general of the Danish Red Cross, Jorgen Poulsen, says the response has exceeded expectations: "We are totally overwhelmed by the interest, both from media and the public in general. Hopefully, this will encourage more people to participate in the annual door-to-door collection on 6 October."

Next Sunday, the Danish Red Cross will carry out its annual door-to-door fundraising campaign, with the help of some 20,000 volunteers. The target is to raise 20 million Danish kroner, or about 2.5 million euros.

Some of that money will be donated to the appeal to assist food insecurity victims in Southern Africa. The appeal, for 89.2 million Swiss francs, was launched on 6 September by the International Federation.

Special thanks to AP for their support

Related Links:

Appeal: Food crisis in southern Africa
Make an Online Donation
More on: The southern Africa food crisis

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