Poverty, Food Shortages, AIDS Destroying Societies in Southern Africa, U.N. Special Envoy Says
June 24, 2004
HIV/AIDS, food shortages, poverty and a public administration and services crisis are creating a "death spiral" in sub-Saharan Africa, resulting in millions of orphans and destabilized conditions, James Morris, director of the World Food Programme and U.N. special envoy for humanitarian need in Southern Africa, said on Tuesday, the Washington Post reports. "What is happening in Southern Africa absolutely represents the most serious humanitarian crisis in the world today," Morris said during a news conference in Johannesburg at the close of his week-long tour of South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Namibia (Timberg, Washington Post, 6/23). There are approximately 30 million HIV-positive people in Southern Africa, and the disease is killing farmers, health workers, teachers and other social service professionals. The average life expectancy of people in the region is only 46 years, and 11 million children in the region are orphans, according to the AP/Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Zavis, AP/Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 6/23). "The number of trained health practitioners, teachers and other professionals that are succumbing to HIV/AIDS is causing a truly extraordinary human resources vacuum across the region," Morris said, adding, "It is a tragedy of unrivaled proportions that is destroying the ability of countries to effectively deal with the [AIDS] pandemic and food insecurity" (Innocenti, Financial Times, 6/22).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.