The request is a revision of the Consolidated Appeal launched last July and covers health care, safe water, sanitation, education, and recovery at household and community levels. The $95.4 million in funding requirements include $31.1 million requested by local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). “The generosity of the international community in response to the first six months of the Appeal has already contributed to mitigating the humanitarian consequences of this crisis,” said Victor Angelo, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Zimbabwe. “But a lot more must be done to prevent the further erosion of basic services.” According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe has seriously deteriorated during the past five years and continues to decline. Inflation has shot to 600 per cent at the beginning of this year from approximately 100 per cent in 2000. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decreased by 13 per cent in 2003. The latest assessment of the urban population indicates that almost 2.5 million are vulnerable due to food insecurity and lack of access to basic services. At the same time, an estimated quarter of Zimbabwe’s sexually active population is HIV positive and some 2,600 adults and 690 children die each week because of related illnesses, OHCA said. Nearly 800,000 of the country’s children have been orphaned due to AIDS, while for many of these and other children, education must often take a back seat to securing food or other survival priorities. Cholera outbreaks are also now occurring in areas previously out affected, as access to clean water and sanitation deteriorates. The result is increasing demands on health and social services colliding with dramatically reduced human resource capacity to address these needs. “Funding is required to prevent loss of life, decrease human suffering and mitigate the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable groups through nutrition, critical health, water and sanitation, education interventions and protection initiatives,” OCHA said in a news release. “The appeal also seeks to strengthen household livelihoods, improve food security, develop minimum standards in essential services, address the impact of HIV/AIDS to support recovery efforts, and bolster coordination,” it added.