Swaziland: Brighter future but the need is now

Published on 02 February 2009

Goods rain, after years of drought, promises a better harvest for Swaziland in the next few months, but right now urban Swazis are struggling with soaring food prices in the shops. "It's one step forward, but one step backward," said Amy Dlamini, a food aid worker at a briefing of humanitarian officials last week by the Swaziland Vulnerability Assessment Committee. [...] The price of the staple starch, maize-meal, rose 25 percent from the end of 2007 to the end of 2008, enough to push the borderline vulnerable into making hard choices. "They usually opt to do without a meal," said Abdoulaye Balde, country representative for the World Food Programme (WFP). "Families that used to have two meals a day are having one." WFP and the UN Children's Agency, UNICEF, have announced shifts in aid distribution to target not just vulnerable children, who for several years have been fed at schools and neighbourhood care points, but also their families: in the past they had not always qualified for food relief.

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