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[casi] (no subject)

This is how it ends up.  Our flagwavers can say that
it's not our fault that our allies didn't pony up, but
we might consider the fact that declining respect for
the Bush administration could easily account for this
lack of commitment from our friends.  That, or simple
fear that Bush is going to produce a larger GLOBAL
recession.  At any rate, theories on this abounding,
the fact is that THIS is the end result.  And I'll bet
both Osama bin laden and Mullah Omar have full plates
tonight at dinnertime, just as does Saddam, during all
the years of sanctions that kill the innocent.  I
suggest that you save this report for a packet to hand
to those who proudly cheer that the U.S. "won" the war
against Afghanistan.

Lisa, quoting:

UN cuts rations in hungry Afghanistan

By Reuters, August 18 2002

The U.N.'s World Food Programme is being forced to cut
rations for millions of hungry and vulnerable Afghans
because international donors have failed to stump up
promised cash, according to officials.

Just seven months after Western nations pledged
billions of dollars in aid to help rebuild
Afghanistan, money is already running out for the most
basic requirement -- feeding people who continue to
live on the borderline of survival.

"The level of resources we are going to get will not
be enough," Guy Gauvreau, the WFP's representative for
northern Afghanistan, said on Sunday.

"We're extremely worried about it. It's understandable
-- there's a drought in southern Africa -- but we
cannot forget Afghanistan," he said.

Some six million Afghans still need food aid over the
next year, according to U.N. figures. The WFP has
appealed for $285 million (179 million pounds) this
year but is still short of more than $90 million -- or
200,000 tonnes of food -- and the lack of cash is
beginning to hurt.

Afghanistan is only slowly getting back on its feet
after 23 years of war and the worst drought in living
memory. The south remains bone dry for a fourth year,
and while there has been decent rainfall in the north,
many people are still struggling.


Shortages of seeds or oxen combined with locust
infestations and a lack of security in many areas all
limited the harvest, which Gauvreau says was "good,
but not enough to feed people".

Afghanistan already has one of the highest levels of
infant and maternal mortality in the world and life
expectancy is among the lowest. The drought has
brought people to a unprecedented levels of
destitution, aid workers say.

More than half the country's livestock has been lost
in the last four years, with massive deaths and
distress selling last year. Rebuilding of herds is
only happening slowly this year.

"People have sold livestock, mortgaged their land,
some have gone into debt, even sold the beams of their
houses," said Andrew Pinney of Irish aid agency GOAL.
"And they have sold in a terrible market, that's how
desperate they have become."

Pinney says some parents in the north have even been
forced to sell their daughters as child brides, girls
as young as eight fetching between $150 and $800.

"The practice seems to have stopped in the last six
months as food aid has produced some sort of buffer,"
Pinney said, adding continued support was essential to
help communities recover.

But support is running out. Only a fraction of the
$4.5 billion in aid pledged to Afghanistan in January
has so far come through.

Donors have cited security concerns and Afghanistan's
still limited capacity to absorb aid, but critics
blame bureaucracy and many Afghans feel the outside
world has simply failed to live up to its promises.


Humanitarian sources say Washington, which has so far
provided the lion's share of WFP's funding for
Afghanistan this year, is demanding Brussels meet more
of the shortfall.

As the two capitals squabble over who should pay the
bill, Gauvreau is being forced to cut back on aid for
vulnerable Afghans in the north.

Former refugees returning from abroad used to receive
a one-time handout from WFP of 250 kg (550 pounds) of
wheat to help them get back on their feet.

That ration has been cut this month to just 100 kg
(220 pounds), and Gauvreau says he fears a further cut
to 50 kg (110 pounds) within two weeks if aid does not
arrive fast.

Crucial food-for-work programmes -- where communities
receive aid in return for digging wells or canals or
improving their land -- also face the axe throughout
the north.

Gauvreau needs to find 18,000 tonnes of wheat from
somewhere to truck into the mountains before the roads
close around the end of October, to help two million
people get through the harsh winter.

"What we are afraid of is that if the winterisation
plan does not have enough resources to implement,
there's going to be a major nutritional crisis in the
mountain areas," he said.

taken from the US weekly news paper

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