U.N Agencies Prepare for Looming Humanitarian Crisis
Major U.N. agencies, including the U.N. High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP), announced plans Monday to undertake one of the largest humanitarian aid operations in the history of the United Nations. Officials estimate that as many as 1-1.5 million Afghans are expected to cross the Afghan border in coming days and weeks, as they flee their homeland and seek safe harbor in Pakistan and Iran. They would join another 4-5 million Afghan refugees already seeking asylum in those countries.
To deal with the potentially crushing flow of expected refugees, the U.N. will open some 20 new camps, and a team of UNHCR officials have been dispatched to Pakistan to coordinate the efforts. However, the Taliban has locked up U.N communications equipment in Afghanistan and issued a death decree to any aid workers who tried to use communications equipment, such as satellite phones, to communicate with other aid workers inside or outside the country. The WFPís humanitarian efforts are being further exacerbated by the Talibanís theft over the weekend of U.N. food supplies from their offices in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. Fortunately, reports received this morning from the World Food Programme indicate the agency, in conjunction with other NGOís still operating in Afghanistan, will resume limited operation in the northern and western portions of Afghanistan where the agency estimates that without additional food aid, almost 1.6 million Afghans in the northern Afghan regions will run out of food by December.
4/15/2014 Virginia Bishops Advocate More Abortion Restrictions for Poor Women - Using the Medicaid expansion debate as a platform, the Virginia Catholic Conference issued a statement Friday calling for the repeal of a Virginia law that allows state funding of abortion care for Medicaid recipients in situations where the fetus exhibits a "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity" or a "gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency."
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington authored the statement which urges Virginia lawmakers to act to expand Medicaid to cover more of Virginia's poor. . . .