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RE: [ujeni] Humanitarian aid for Afghanistan

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  • sgeibel@netscape.net
    There s an article in the new Economist which I ve copied for you below- and it makes me wonder; if we were really starving and Malawi sent us shipments of
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 21, 2001
      There's an article in the new Economist which I've copied for you below- and it makes me wonder; if we were really starving and Malawi sent us shipments of mice and termites... would we eat it???

      Two books that have good technical info on this stuff: MSF's "Nutritional Guidelines," and Fred Cuny's "Famine, Conflict, and Response."

      There's a Lyle Lovett song that goes "she wasn't good, but she had good intentions"... that's my current frame of mind regarding America's (and my own) role in this international aid stuff. - scott

      Pop Tarts in the dust
      Oct 18th 2001 | KHOJA BAHOUDIN
      From The Economist print edition

      <picture caption> Oh no, not strawberry jam again

      AT FOUR in the morning on October 13th, thousands of ready-meals packed in yellow plastic wrappers were sprinkled over flat, parched land close to Khoja Bahoudin in north-eastern Afghanistan. Soon afterwards, troops from the army of the opposition Northern Alliance were out with their trucks gathering up the meals. “They are for us, from the Americans,” they yelled, firing over the heads of angry ordinary people who thought the aid was for them.

      A little later, when western television crews appeared, the army beat a hasty retreat. Now families fanned out to pick up the meals, loading them on donkeys. Snipping open the packs, people discarded what they did not like. While some collected sackfuls of Pop Tart Toaster-Pastries or Herb Rice, packets of strawberry jam lay strewn across the blistering landscape.

      Across Afghanistan, some 6m people depend on supplies delivered from outside. Most of this comes from aid agencies, which deliver what people really need: flour, oil, sugar, beans and blankets. But although deliveries continue in northern Afghanistan, they have been suspended in areas controlled by the Taliban. The UN has begun to talk of setting up safe corridors to allow its trucks to deliver aid. On October 17th, a group of aid agencies, including Oxfam and Christian Aid, appealed to America to stop the bombing to allow food through, because winter is approaching.

      Meanwhile, officials from the World Food Programme, which has experience of dropping food aid in bulk in places such as southern Sudan, have begun to consider such drops in Afghanistan. Aid workers say that airdrops can work, but that organisation on the ground is necessary to prevent the food ending up in the hands of the strong and those with weapons. Even when food is distributed through local military commanders or those in charge of refugee camps, too much of it gets stolen.

      Yet not everyone is unhappy with America's efforts. Outside Khoja Bahoudin, one man and his son were making a point of gathering packets of peanut butter, which they were stowing in their donkey's saddlebags. Asked why, the man smiled and said: “I like it.” Others ask, “When will they send more?”

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