World Food Programme Asks for $404M To Mitigate Food Shortages, Effects of HIV/AIDS on Food Production in Southern Africa
The World Food Programme on Thursday launched a new emergency appeal for $404 million in funding over the next three years to provide food relief in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia and mitigate the effects of the region's HIV/AIDS epidemic on food production, Reuters reports. Some experts said that food shortages in the region are becoming chronic and endemic, while at the same time farm workers are dying of AIDS-related illnesses, preventing them from teaching their children how to farm, according to Reuters. WFP has asked for $63 million immediately for use in the first quarter of 2005. About 67% of the funds would be used to ease food insecurity and the effects of HIV/AIDS, and the remaining 33% would be used for food relief. "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," Mike Sackett, WFP regional coordinator for Southern Africa, said. WFP appealed for emergency assistance for the region in 2002 and 2003, which together helped feed more than 10 million people in the region. The new appeal aims to feed 2.8 million people in the first quarter of 2005 and 5.5 million people over the next three years, Reuters reports (Reuters, 10/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.