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WFP asks for US $404 million to aid 1.5 million people
Sunday 24 October 2004
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SOUTHERN AFRICA: WFP asks for US $404 million to aid 1.5 million people

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

©  FAO

Manu households still feel the effects of the 2002/2003 drought

JOHANNESBURG, 21 October (PLUSNEWS) - The World Food Programme on Thursday launched an appeal for US $404 million to support a monthly average of 1.5 million people in five southern African countries affected by food shortages, high HIV/AIDS rates and weakened capacity for governance.

The operation, expected to run for three years, needs US $63 million immediately to help people survive the 'hunger season' in the first quarter of next year, the UN agency said. Families and individuals vulnerable to food insecurity and HIV/AIDS in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia are to be targeted by the intervention.

"The media spotlight may have moved elsewhere, but the people of southern Africa will carry the scars of the last few years for generations to come," WFP's Regional Director for Southern Africa, Mike Sackett, said in a statement.

"If we don't step in now with support, there's a very real danger that southern Africa will descend into a perpetual cycle of tragedy, with children missing out on education and vital agricultural knowledge being lost," he added.

WFP noted that donations received after two previous appeals as a result of poor harvests in 2002 and 2003 had "averted a humanitarian catastrophe", when more than 10 million people across the region had faced food shortages at the height of the crisis.

The five countries had some of the highest adult HIV prevalence rates in the world and are struggling to cope with a growing number of orphans (almost 1.8 million), extreme poverty (more than two-thirds of their populations live below the poverty line) and rapidly declining life expectancy.

About one-third of the funds needed for the new WFP operation will support food relief, while two-thirds will be used to mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS and alleviate chronic food insecurity.

WFP said recovery activities would include school feeding, food-for-work and food-for-training programmes, as well as support for patients with tuberculosis and people receiving antiretroviral treatment.

After the hardships of the past two years, few households had resources or assets left to sell to purchase food on the open market, meet the rising costs of education and healthcare, or invest in agriculture.

"The ability to access critical amounts of food remains one of the biggest challenges faced by millions of people in this region every day, and clearly the magnitude of the problem is far outstripping the ability of countries to cope," Sackett said.


HIV/AIDS remains a big child killer,  8/Oct/04
Humanitarian crisis crippling public health sector,  16/Sep/04
HIV/AIDS changing the face of agriculture,  26/Aug/04
Female-headed households most vulnerable to food insecurity,  28/Jul/04
Households burdened by an increasing number of AIDS orphans,  13/Jul/04
VIH Internet
Sida Info Services
Le Fonds mondial de lutte contre le SIDA, la tuberculose et le paludisme
Le Réseau Afrique 2000

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