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June-03-02

Afghanistan Experiencing “Immediate Humanitarian Crisis”

United Nations Envoy for Recovery, Relief, and Reconstruction Nigel Fisher revealed that the international community has provided “insufficient” aid to Afghanistan and noted that the country is still undergoing an “immediate humanitarian crisis,” evidenced by widespread hunger. According to the World Food Program (WFP), the agency needs more than $585 million to deliver aid to some 9 million people, but WFP has received less than 60 percent of that total from donor countries. “We are extremely concerned that such high priority emergencies have fallen this far short on funding,” said WFP Executive Director James Morris. Consequently, WFP is facing a shortfall of 215,400 tons of food. While the United States has contributed a total of $374 million to Afghanistan for emergency humanitarian assistance, much more is needed to avert the current crisis.

Sending more aid to Afghanistan is also crucial to winning the war on terrorism. According to a report in the Christian Science Monitor, hunger and poverty are feeding fundamentalists in their campaign against the West. Ghulam Dastagir, director of a hospital in Zabul Province, commented, “The Taliban is using the ongoing hardship to preach against the US interests here. They say that if the Westerners can’t help you, we will.”

The Feminist Majority has called on the Bush Administration to support an immediate infusion of aid into Afghanistan. "President Bush promised that the U.S. would not abandon the Afghan people, especially Afghan women," said Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal. "It is time for the President to make good on his promise." The Feminist Majority is also calling for an expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) throughout the war-torn country, as factional fighting and instability threaten the establishment of democracy and women’s rights in Afghanistan.

TAKE ACTION: Tell the Bush Administration Afghanistan Needs Peacekeeping Troops and Aid for Rebuilding

Media Resources: BBC News, 6/3/02; Christian Science Monitor, 6/3/02; World Food Program, 6/2/02 & 5/20/02; Relief Web; Feminist Majority

   

     

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