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Millions of Afghans Face Starvation


With a combination of a summer drought, poor irrigation and rising global food prices, a famine is unveiling in Afghanistan with third of Afghans are suffering chronic food insecurity, a British think-tank warned on Friday, October 31. "An estimated 8.4 million Afghans, perhaps a third of the nation, are now suffering from 'chronic and transitory food insecurity'," Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) analyst Paul Smyth said in a press briefing on its website...


[48424]



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Millions of Afghans Face Starvation

IslamOnline.net

kabul_sep07_38.jpg

October 31, 2008

With a combination of a summer drought, poor irrigation and rising global food prices, a famine is unveiling in Afghanistan with third of Afghans are suffering chronic food insecurity, a British think-tank warned on Friday, October 31.

"While the eyes of the world have focused on violence which is increasingly terrorist in character, an estimated 8.4 million Afghans, perhaps a third of the nation, are now suffering from 'chronic and transitory food insecurity'," Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) analyst Paul Smyth said in a press briefing on its website.

"Whatever the effect of insurgent violence on the UN-mandated mission in Afghanistan, it is widespread hunger and malnutrition that will place a greater obstacle in its progress."

RUSI said that many Afghan have already started migrating from their areas in search of food.

"Some are eating grass and a tiny number have died of starvation."

British charity Oxfam warned earlier this year that around five million Afghans are facing food shortages.

RUSI warned that a famine will blow out when the snowy winter season begins.

"When temperatures plummet and snow cloaks the Hindu Kush, millions of desperate Afghans will look to the UN, ISAF and their own government for help or survival.

"If the international community is found wanting, we can expect increasing frustration and anger from a population which once saw the international intervention in Afghanistan as a source of hope."

Nearly 1,700 Afghans died in the severe winter last year.

Airlift

RUSI suggests an airlift similar to the Berlin Airlift in the 1940s to prevent the starvation of millions of poor Afghans.

"Exactly sixty years ago, the Berlin Airlift was underway. It brought food to millions and prevented a strategic defeat," it said.

"Today, a much smaller, yet strategically significant operation could have similar effect in Afghanistan."

The UN World Food Program said in August that 25,000 tons of food were urgently needed in Afghanistan before the winter season.

"Ahead of the deterioration in winter weather lays a window of opportunity for the international community to mount an intensive air operation to deliver life-saving aid to Afghanistan," said Smyth.

"To maintain its credibility and moral authority to act in Afghanistan the international community must take timely, concerted and effective action."

Days after the 9/11 attacks, the United States invaded Afghanistan to topple the ruling Taliban.

Despite the deployment of 64,000 foreign troops under US and NATO command, violence has soared over the past years.

A high-profile US intelligence report has concluded earlier this month that Afghanistan is on a "downward spiral" due to rising violence and official corruption.

"Afghanistan may be on the brink of a calamity which has the potential to undermine much of the progress which has been achieved there," said RUSI.

"Help must come from farther afield, swiftly, and to any part of the country. An airlift meets these demands."





:: Article nr. 48424 sent on 01-nov-2008 09:02 ECT

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