December 1st marks World AIDS Day and the United Nations World Food Program is celebrating the work that has yet been done with its partners to provide food assistance to under privileged people in 31 countries. Yet at the same time, the World Food Program (WFP) is cutting short the aid, causing concern for many countries.
The World Food Program has a vision of a “world with zero hunger, zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.” It has always been working in collaboration to provide nutritional support along with HIV treatment and care. It has been estimated that under nutrition causes two to six times more deaths due to HIV infections.
The program expanded its supply by the U.S. amount of $56 million for five years in Ethiopia, which enabled the Ethiopian families to send their children to school after their nutritional needs were met. The WFP in collaboration with United Nation’s AIDS program has been successful in reducing the HIV infections by 38 percent within 11 years, also reducing the overall deaths due to AIDS by 35 percent within seven years.
WFP has been bringing food to more than 1.3 million people living around the world who are affected by HIV and tuberculosis. WFP was also been providing assistance to hard hit areas of Ebola in Africa and it was hypothesized that people with well-nutritional food intake have a better chance of survival and beating the virus.
It has recently been announced by United Nations World Food Program that it would have to cut short the aid due to lack of funding. It particularly announced the aid to halt to Syrian refugees in the amount of 1.7 million, at this time of the year when extreme winters fall upon the region.
It has been reported that the decision to cut short the supply will have devastating impacts on the refugees and countries dependent on WFP. It will not only put the health and overall life at risk but will lead to many potential problems within the country and surrounding regions.
The impact of halting the aid will potentially impact refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Egypt. The refugees have very limited or no access to clean water, clothing, fuel and above all food in the tents they live. As the number of Syrian refugees increase day by day, so are their needs, it is suspected to be another potential crises in near future.
There are many potential reasons of lack of funding for Syrian refugees like many other disastrous situations happening around the world where WFP has to provide food and nutrition. Right now WFP is assisting with five major disasters around the globe like Ebola crises.
WFP has also recently signed an agreement with Gambia in which students graduating from the University of Gambia will be serving in developing and implementing various programs within WFP. That in turn, will add different objectives of WFP and help empower the students and communities as well.
On one hand, the World Food Program has cut short its aid in many countries of the world like Syria, and on the other hand, it is expanding its programs and procedures in other countries like Gambia. It is also striving to take measures at hard hit regions around the globe like Ebola in Africa, and extreme poverty regions like Ethiopia.
By Atika Jilani
Photo by UNICEF Ethiopia – Flickr License