Malnutrition, HIV/AIDS Threaten 16 Million People in Southern Africa
In the first of a two-part series, the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday examined the drought in Southern Africa, which along with war, AIDS and corruption, is threatening the lives of 16 million people in the region. According to the World Health Organization, if the world does not respond to the crisis, 300,000 people could die before the corn harvest in March. Seven countries, including Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe -- which have traditionally been called the "breadbasket of Africa" -- have "crippled agricultural production" due to back-to-back droughts, disease, corruption, "fool-hardy" economic policies and government mismanagement, the Inquirer reports. During Southern Africa's last major drought in 1992, "you were dealing with Mother Nature," Brenda Barton, chief spokesperson for the U.N. World Food Programme in the region, said, adding, "Now you are dealing with Mother Nature, economics, politics and AIDS" (Raghavan, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/26). The complete article is available online. The second article in the series will be published next Sunday.
AIDS, Starvation Contributing to Rise in Number of Orphans
The Inquirer yesterday also profiled Mbongeni Mngometulu, a 15-year-old orphan who is raising his two siblings and two nephews in Swaziland. Mngometulu's parents both died of AIDS-related illnesses, leaving him to head the family and grow up without having learned from his parents basic farming skills that "could help [him] cope with future emergencies," according to the Inquirer. By 2010, AIDS-related illnesses are expected to kill the parents of 20 million African children, the United Nations estimates. Aid workers and government officials say that the solution lies in rebuilding the "shattered traditional networks in villages and families" that in the past have cared for orphans and others in need (Raghavan, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/26).