Lack of Funding Forces UN Food Agency to Suspend Some Relief in Afghanistan
A multi-million dollar funding gap for the United Nations World Food Program’s work in Afghanistan has resulted in cutbacks on relief projects throughout the country. These cutbacks have forced families to take on debt, reduce their dietary intake and sell their assets and livestock, according to Nigel Fisher, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan. Worse yet, families may be forcing their girls into early marriages to relieve demands on family food supplies.
The WFP Emergency Operation in Afghanistan currently faces a shortfall of 215,400 tons of food worth approximately $123 million, or 43 percent of the total requirements. “Measures have been taken to scale down distributions, some Food for Work rehabilitation projects have been suspended, returning refugees and internally displaced persons are now receiving a third of their re-settlement packages and food assistance to civil servants may be curtailed in the near future,” said WFP spokesman Alejandro Chicheri.
But, larger-than-expected numbers of refugees coming home from Pakistan has exacerbated the food shortage, as tensions in Kashmir between India and Pakistan have led some Afghans to return home sooner than expected, USA Today reported Thursday. “If there is war, all the refugees would come back quickly,” said Ragnhild Elk, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. More than 880,000 refugees, nearly all from Pakistan, have returned to Afghanistan since March.
The UN has determined that Afghanistan is still undergoing a humanitarian crisis, and not enough funding is present to ameliorate the situation. “President Bush has said that the US will not abandon the Afghan people,” said Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal. “Now is the time to act.” Not only is immediate funding desperately needed, but increased security is of utmost importance. Human Rights Watch has reported increased factional fighting in Afghanistan and the use of violence and intimidation by regional warlords to control the loya jirga process. Without an expansion of peacekeeping forces, democracy will be jeopardized, and Afghanistan may once again fall victim to terrorism.
1/23/2015 #HeForShe Campaign Launches Pilot Effort Aimed at Institutional Equality - The United Nations' gender equality campaign #HeForShe has launched a new program called IMPACT 10X10X10.
United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, together with UN Women Executive DirectorPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, introduced the one-year pilot effort aimed at encouraging corporations, universities, and governments to play an active role in enhancing women's empowerment and equality in Davos, Switzerland today at the World Economic Forum.
"Women need to be equal participants in our homes, societies, in our governments, and in our workplaces," Watson said.
First introduced in September, HeForShe is a solidarity movement that calls on men and boys to confront gender inequalities that face women and girls globally. . . .
1/22/2015 BREAKING: House to Vote on Abortion Coverage Ban - After they were forced to scrap plans for a 20-week abortion ban, House Republican leaders decided late last night to instead ram through a vote today on a different extreme anti-abortion bill.
House Republicans are now pushing HR 7, a bill promoted as a ban on federal funding of abortion that would actually prevent women from using their own money to purchase health insurance that includes abortion care. . . .
1/22/2015 House Cancels Abortion Ban After GOP Congresswomen Drop Support - House Republicans cancelled plans to vote on a 20-week ban on abortion after Republican Congresswomen removed their names publicly as co-sponsors of the bill.
The vote on the unconstitutional 20-week ban had originally been scheduled for today, the anniversary of Roe v. . . .