UN aid for famine-hit Mizoram

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Aizawl, Apr 1 (UNI) United Nations Under Secretary General Noeleen Heyzer has promised emergency assistance to Mizoram under the UN-sponsored 'World Food Programme' following the acute food shortage in the state due to the Mautam famine.

Official sources said here today that Ms Heyzer lauded the initiative by Chief Minister Zoramthanga in forming a 'High Power Committee on International Cooperation' and the zealous efforts of Dr R Lalthangliana in this regard.

She also hoped that the state would soon reap the benefits through the Bangkok-based United Nations Social and Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNSECAP).

While acknowledging the need for assistance to the state government, Ms Heyzer also expressed the hope to get development packages from the Norwegian government through the UNSECAP.

She promised all possible help in the event of the substantial adversaries faced by Mizoram due to Mautam (bamboo flowering) and its related rodent menace.

A high level meeting with UN officials was held at New Delhi on March 28, attended by Mizoram Education Minister R Lalthangliana and other important officilas.

The UN team, led by the under secretary general, included Dr Amitava Mukherjee, Dr Baharul Islam, Dr Ravi Ratnayeke, Dr K Ramanathanan and S Tata, special assistant to the UN under secretary general.

Besides, a suitable substitute to the practice of shifting cultivation by the state's farmers was discussed and the meeting decided to enhance cooperation with the neighbouring states and countries under the UN-sponsored environmental programme relating to the sub-regional project.

Official sources said the under secretary approved the proposal of the Mizoram delegates on promotion of youth activities through the ICT-led UN Human Resources Development Programme.

The state would hopefully reach a new consensus to boost the Mizoram economy through the UNSECAP in the light of the meeting, the sources added.

UNI ZS DPM KK HT1532

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