WFP to increase HIV/AIDS food handouts in Malawi
Buoyed by bumper harvests, Malawi donated 10,425 tonnes of maize to the U.N. agency last week.
The WFP was providing monthly food assistance to more than 110,000 HIV/AIDS patients in the impoverished country before the donation. It was also feeding an additional 1,500 malnourished mothers and children in feeding centers around the country.
In a statement it said it would now be able to help feed a peak of 203,000 people in November and December.
"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, WFP's country director for Malawi, said.
An estimated 14 percent of Malawi's 12 million people are infected with HIV or AIDS, with about 240 people dying of the disease each day. More than a million children have been orphaned by the epidemic.
After years of food shortages caused by drought, Malawi has enjoyed two consecutive good harvests. The country harvested 3.4 million tonnes of maize last year, 1.3 million tonnes more than it needed.
The rising production has prompted Malawi to sell some 400,000 tonnes of excess maize to Zimbabwe, which is mired in a deep economic crisis marked by chronic shortages of food, inflation over 7,600 percent and high unemployment and poverty.
More than 4 million Zimbabweans are expected to need food assistance by early next year, according to the WFP.
Malawi also has pledged to donate 10,000 tonnes of maize to Lesotho and Swaziland, two impoverished southern African nations that have seen their harvests decimated by extensive droughts.
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