WFP has announced that unless it receives new contributions urgently it will be forced to halt food distributions to 90,000 orphans and vulnerable children in Namibia by the second half
The international community should not forget that a hungry child in Namibia is every bit as desperate as a vulnerable child in the rest of the world
John Prout, WFP Country Director for Namibia
of December because of a critical shortage of funding.
“It’s an unjust and preventable tragedy that children – especially orphans -- become the victims of funding shortfalls,” said John Prout, WFP Country Director for Namibia.
“The international community should not forget that a hungry child in Namibia is every bit as desperate as a vulnerable child in the rest of the world,” he said.
It is already too late to ensure an uninterrupted flow of food aid to the children through December.
However, if US$1 million were donated in cash now, WFP could resume rations in January.
The longer it takes to receive donations, the longer it will take to get the feeding programmes back on track.
“As new problems emerge in different parts of Africa, and the rest of the world, donor focus has shifted away from southern Africa and all our programmes across the region have been affected by the reduced availability of resources,” said Prout.
WFP has been working with the Government of Namibia for the last 18 months to establish programmes to feed children across the country’s six northern regions.
Now that the programmes are underway funding has dried up at the most critical time – the ‘lean season’ when food from the last harvest runs out.
WFP is facing a shortfall of US$4 million for its operations in Namibia through to April, and needs a total of US$9 million through to the end of 2007.
Across the region, excluding Namibia, WFP faces a funding shortfall of US$48 million for programmes in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe which assist about 4.5 million people.
WFP re-opened its office in Namibia last year to specifically strengthen support to orphans and vulnerable children in northern Namibia which has the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the country
The regions include: Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Kavango, and Caprivi. WFP provides a monthly take home ration to each child registered with the programme, which includes maize meal, corn-soya blend, cooking oil and pulses.
Since re-starting operations in Namibia, WFP has not received a single donation towards its operation. Instead, WFP has used internal untied multi-lateral donations to fund activities to this point, hoping the international community would support these critically-needed feeding programmes.