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Preparing an emergency response

Emergency food aid or food for work programmes could represent short-term answers to the problem of acute food insecurity associated with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. However, determining which individuals, households and communities should receive such assistance is an extremely delicate process as it can lead to further stigmatization or marginalization.

One targeting strategy could be to include orphan-headed and foster households or those that have lost one or more family members. However, even this strategy requires flexible criteria.

Another emergency reponse could be to provide food rations to school children - one ration while they are at school and another to take home with them. In this way, they are encouraged to attend school and their nutritional needs are met. This response has been developed by the World Food Programme.

Whatever the emergency reponse, the longer-term view must not be overlooked. Longer-term mitigation strategies must seek to influence one or more of the livelihood assets -- such as labour-saving technologies or seed distribution - so that households can re-establish their agricultural base and have a safety net as they are coping with, or recovering from, the crisis.

related links
exploring the role of FAO and mainstreaming HIV in the Organization's emergency response with a priority focus on sub-Saharan Africa (pdf)
the AIDS epidemic as a disaster which requires a response of an emergency nature (pdf)
household food security and community nutrition: emergencies
Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS)
the report of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa (pdf)
Response to the southern Africa crisis (pdf)
IASC Guidelines for HIV/AIDS interventions in emergency settings
more FAO publications

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