UN envoy warns of bleak forecast in southern Africa as AIDS crisis converges with food shortages
As James Morris, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa left Lesotho yesterday, he said that with the deadly combination of widespread food shortages and the fourth highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world, it is increasingly likely that the people of that country will continue to depend on international assistance for many months to come.
The monumental gravity of the two crises converging in southern Africa prompted Stephen Lewis, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa to join Mr. Morris’s mission. In a joint statement at the end of the first leg of the five-nation, one-week tour, the envoys said the forecast is bleak, especially with many farmers predicting yet another year of drought and reduced crops.
“I have been moved by the struggle that the people of this country, especially women, face every day to survive and support their families,” Mr. Morris said after meeting some of the hardest hit families in highland villages. He added that there was a great battle ahead in the fight against food insecurity with the prospect of another poor harvest added to the high levels of HIV/AIDS.
Mr. Morris left Lesotho yesterday for Zimbabwe. He goes to Malawi tomorrow, Zambia on Sunday and South Africa on Tuesday.