WFP To Increase Food Handouts in Malawi After Receiving Maize Donation From Government
The World Food Programme on Monday announced that it will almost double food handouts to people living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi after receiving maize donations from the government, Reuters Health reports. Before the donation, WFP was providing monthly food assistance to more than 110,000 people living with HIV/AIDS and about 1,500 malnourished women and children in the country. The agency in a statement said with the donation, it will be able to provide food to up to 203,000 Malawians in November and December.
According to Reuters Health, Malawi has had two consecutive good harvests, producing 3.4 million tons of maize last year -- 1.3 million tons more than it needed. The rising production has prompted the government to donate 10,425 tons of maize to WFP for Malawi and another 10,000 tons to Lesotho and Swaziland. The government also plans to sell about 400,000 tons of excess maize to Zimbabwe, which is experiencing an inflation rate of 7,600%, high unemployment and chronic food shortages.
"Food is absolutely crucial to the fight against HIV/AIDS, and people affected by the pandemic are already starting to benefit from this latest donation by the Malawian government, and thousands more will now receive vital food assistance in the coming months," Dom Scalpelli, country director for WFP's Malawi office, said. An estimated 14% of Malawi's 12 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, and 240 people die daily of AIDS-related illnesses, Reuters Health reports (Reuters Health, 9/17).
"The contribution will ensure that tens of thousands of vulnerable Malawians continue to receive crucial food assistance until the end of 2007," Scalpelli said, adding that it will allow WFP to "meet the needs of all our nutrition and HIV/AIDS beneficiaries until the end of the year" (AFP/News24, 9/18).