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New Africa Famine Wave Seen, Officials on Bush Tour Report

March 09, 1985|MICHAEL WINES | Times Staff Writer

NAIMEY, Niger — The United States and Niger fear that a second wave of famine could strike northern Africa this summer unless enough food is stockpiled there before seasonal rains make roads impassable, officials accompanying Vice President George Bush on an African tour said Friday.

The officials said the concern was raised during a 75-minute meeting here in Niger's capital Friday between Bush and Nigerian President Seyni Kountche.

Later, M. Peter McPherson, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said drought-plagued Niger would receive a modest boost in American food and medical aid, totaling $11.1 million, in the next three months.

Transport Plans Urged

The aid, which includes 14,000 tons of food and additional medical supplies, will be trucked into Niger well before the expected summer rains, McPherson said. But unless there is careful planning by all nations aiding the drought-stricken countries, he warned, shiploads of food could be stranded at African ports with no way to move the food to desert regions where it is needed.

McPherson said Bush will urge nations attending a Geneva conference on famine relief to coordinate the unloading of ships in crowded African ports and to ensure that the food is delivered where it is needed by a "date certain."

On Friday, Bush canceled a visit to a Niger drought relief camp near Maradi when dust storms prevented his C-130 Hercules airplane from landing. The cancellation bitterly disappointed nearly 100,000 people, many in ceremonial dress, who had gathered to welcome the vice president.

Bush will fly today to neighboring Mali, the last of three African nations on his schedule.

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