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The BBC's David Shukman
"For most people treatment is beyond their reach"
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The BBC's Daniel Sandford
"Christian Aid say that Britain's Aids Budget is pitifully inadequate"
 real 56k

Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey
"We need the international community to give more generously to meet this terrible, terrible scourge"
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Monday, 14 May, 2001, 07:04 GMT 08:04 UK
Africa 'has 12 million Aids orphans'
Aids orphans
Many children have been orphaned by Aids
The charity Christian Aid has called on the UK Government to double the amount of money it gives to help fight Aids in Africa.

In a report, the charity says the scale of the crisis in Africa - where millions of children have been orphaned by the disease - should encourage ministers to increase spending.

It says the government spends more on hotel bills and conferences than tackling Aids in developing countries.

Mark Curtis, Christian Aid's head of policy, said: "The UK is committed to reducing world poverty - but there is no way we can meet these targets without tackling HIV and Aids."

An entire generation is growing up without parents, without teachers, without a future

Mark Curtis
Christian Aid
More than 12 million children in sub-Saharan Africa - equivalent to the UK's entire child population - have been orphaned by Aids, the report says.

By 2010, this number will have risen to 43 million and 15.4bn will have been wiped off the economy of South Africa alone, it warns.

The report, called No Excuses, calls on the government to double its development assistance to tackle the crisis effectively.

'Pitifully inadequate'

Britain promised the United Nations 30 years ago that it would increase overseas aid to 0.7% of national earnings, but it is still just 0.311% - 3.11bn - which Christian Aid calls "pitifully inadequate".

The Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, called the situation in Africa "a staggering problem" that was being driven by dire poverty.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the charity's "hard-hitting report" was directed at the government and the Church alike.

He said: "A good, generous country looks beyond its borders to transform the world in which we live.

"I believe it's money well spent and a challenge to us all."

The disease killed more than two million people in Africa last year and 25.3 million are living with HIV or Aids.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 8.5% of the population have the virus - compared to 0.1% of British people.

'Ghost towns'

Youngsters are often orphaned two or three times as their parents die to be replaced by aunts, uncles and other relatives who also fall victim to the disease.

Aids patient in Uganda
Africa is the continent hardest hit by Aids
Many are forced on to the streets and are growing up in "an emotional and spiritual vacuum", Christian Aid said.

The report states: "Villages are becoming ghost towns, local economies are crumbling.

"The orphaned children, as adults, will not be equipped to drive the economic engine of Africa.

"This will make the struggle for development and growth on the continent even tougher."

Mr Curtis said: "An entire generation is growing up without parents, without teachers, without a future.

"Words are not enough.

"It is time for rich-country governments to stump up or shut up."

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See also:

20 Feb 01 | Facts
International development
11 May 01 | Americas
Bush pledges $200m to Aids fund
29 Mar 01 | Health
Aids crippling parts of Africa
27 Apr 01 | Africa
Annan's 'Marshall Plan' for Aids
14 Jan 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Words of hope from child Aids victim
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