UN Food Agency Plans Big Cuts in Zambia Aid
March 1, 2007
The UN World Food Program (WFP) said Tuesday it plans to cut vital food rations to approximately 500,000 vulnerable people in Zambia over the next few weeks due to a shortage of funds. Beginning in April, the agency said it will also halt food assistance to 6,000 HIV/AIDS patients on antiretroviral (ARV) therapy and their families, and to 9,500 chronically ill patients receiving home-based care, many of whom are also taking ARVs.
"In March or April, we will be forced to stop distributing food to some of the most disadvantaged people in Zambia, such as orphans and patients undergoing treatment for AIDS," WFP Country Director David Stephenson confirmed in a statement.
The program needs $29 million to continue its efforts in Zambia through the end of 2007. But with its food supplies dwindling, WFP said it is planning to enact a series of massive cuts to its operations.
The cuts come as widespread flooding in the country threatens to increase the number of people in need of food assistance. Meanwhile, WFP is already struggling to supply emergency aid to flood and cyclone victims in neighboring Mozambique. The agency has been critical of rich nations that have failed to contribute enough to keep basic aid programs going in Africa, where HIV/AIDS and flooding and droughts frequently create dire food shortages.