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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. UNPRECEDENTED DESTITUTION 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. RATIONS CUT AS BRUSSELS, WASHINGTON SQUABBLE 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 www.themilitant.com __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Yahoo! Finance - Get real-time stock quotes http://finance.yahoo.com _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk