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Rwanda: continued ICRC support for rural population

23-08-1995 News Release 34

In preparation for the next farming season, which begins in September, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is gearing up to distribute seed, implements and food to more than 63,000 families in southern Rwanda.

Since last autumn the ICRC, which has been working in the country since 1990 and remained active there at the height of the massacres last year, has been carrying out an agricultural rehabilitation programme in aid of more than 270,000 families.

Although most of the Rwandan population are now self-sufficient, needs still exist in the south of the country where many families lost everything during last year's tragedy. Other families have returned home virtually destitute from Uganda, Burundi, Zaire or the camps for displaced persons which were closed in April 1995.

From the end of August, the ICRC will be distributing bean seed and hoes to 63,000 families in seven areas in the south of the country (other humanitarian organizations are taking care of other regions). This should enable each family to harvest about 100 kg of beans early next year. They will also be given some additional food - maize, beans, oil and salt - so that they do not keep up their strength for the arduous task of tilling fields by consuming the seed itself.