According to a report of the UN, the HIV epidemic is far worse than previously thought. The report released by the joint UN programme on HIV/AIDS paints a grim picture of the spread of the HIV epidemic, particularly in such hard-hit developing regions as sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. An estimated 30 million adults and children are now believed to be infected with the AIDS virus. In most countries the majority of new infections are occurring among young people between the ages of 15 and 24. "We are now realising that rates of HIV transmission have been grossly underestimated, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa," says Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS. The report says that the epidemic is spreading at a rate of 16,000 new infections each day.

The United Nations Development Programme is providing funds and technical assistance to help the governments of Ecuador and Ethiopia in the wake of heavy flooding.In the coastal region of Ecuador, an estimated 35,000 people have been affected by flooding. In Ethiopia, around 8,000 people have been displaced, 300 people died and large crops destroyed.

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