World Food Programme, UNICEF Call for $5.8M to Fight AIDS, Poverty, Food Shortage in Namibia
The World Food Programme and UNICEF on Wednesday appealed to the international community for $5.8 million in aid to combat the combined effects of poverty, food shortages and AIDS among women and children in Namibia, the Associated Press reports. The country's food shortages have been exacerbated by the "worsening" AIDS epidemic in the country, the Associated Press reports. The country's HIV prevalence is now the seventh highest in the world at 22%, compared with 4% in 1992, according to the Associated Press. In addition, at least 120,000 children in the country are estimated to have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illnesses (Associated Press, 3/10). "Even though the rains have arrived, in some cases there are very few adults to plough the fields, because now -- like so many of its neighbors in southern Africa -- Namibia is starting to feel the full force of HIV/AIDS. This is also eroding and over burdening the health care system," Per Engebak, regional director of UNICEF, said (WFP release, 3/10). A recent U.N. mission found that acute malnutrition rates among children younger than age five are as high as 15% in some areas (Associated Press, 3/10). In addition, the government estimates that more than 640,000 people -- or more than one-third of the population -- will need food aid in the coming months, SAPA/Mail & Guardian reports (SAPA/Mail & Guardian, 3/10).
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