The Montgomery County Red Cross is collecting money to aid African famine victims.

Gene Jeffers, a Montgomery County resident and director of press relations for the American Red Cross, is among the members of two fact-finding teams of volunteers and staff sent recently by the Red Cross to Ethiopia and Mauritania to assess the African continent's worst drought in more than 100 years.

More than 40,000 people a month are starving to death in 27 African countries at a rate equal to the death rate in Europe when the Bubonic Plague struck, according to the Red Cross. An added problem is that tons of food donated by Americans are perishable, or canned goods that spoil in the intense heat of Africa, or foods that cannot be digested by starving people.

The American Red Cross is a sister society of the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies that are working with local African Red Cross/Red Crescent societies to make sure fresh and usable food and medical supplies reach the needy.

Checks should be made payable to the Montgomery County Red Cross and designated "African Famine Relief" and sent to 2020 East West Hwy., Silver Spring, Md. 20910.