The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) might be forced to cut food rations and the number of people being fed in Zambia next month due to lack of funding. According to the National Vulnerability Assessment Committee, led by the Zambian government, the number of people who will need food assistance between July 2005 and February 2006 is estimated at one million. The WFP is only able to feed approximately 500,000 with current contributions.
Women, malnourished children, the elderly, and people affected by HIV/AIDS are those who will suffer the most from cuts to food rations. WFP food rations to 61,000 orphans and at-risk children might have to be reduced unless donations drastically increase. According to the World Food program, “This will mean an end to their daily meals of porridge and will more than likely be followed by an increase in school dropouts. Others, such as 57,000 impoverished farmers and their families, together with about 104,000 malnourished children and pregnant women, will also lose WFP rations, as well as 300 people who currently receive antiretroviral treatment for AIDS,” according to IRIN News.
In southern Zambia, where major dry spells have caused widespread crop failure, 1.2 million people are incapable of surviving off their own harvests. David Stevenson, WFP Country Director for Zambia, concluded that over 118,000 tons of cereals are needed to feed the 1.2 million people until next year’s harvest season, reports The Times of Zambia.
“Without immediate donations from the international community, we will have no food for hungry Zambians in July, let alone later in the year when the need is going to increase, Stevenson continued.