News Release

Food to Afghanistan: Analysts Available

ROGER NORMAND
Executive director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights, Normand said today: “Millions in Afghanistan need immediate food aid in order to survive the harsh winter that begins in one month. Today is World Food Day; we call on all parties to allow humanitarian operations to resume.”
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JIM JENNINGS
President of Conscience International, a humanitarian aid organization, Jennings was in Afghani refugee camps in Pakistan this May.

DOMINIC NUTT
Spokesperson for Christian Aid in Islamabad, Nutt said today: “Air-dropping ration packs is about as useful as dropping leaflets telling Afghan people not to worry. Indeed, we fervently hope that the drops don’t actually kill people. Our experience tells us that much will end up in the hands of warring parties and that fighting over the food will occur. It’s likely that the weakest — women, children and the old — will go without. The policy of airdrops, then, is either extremely naive or a cynical attempt to mask the real needs of the situation. Within days after September 11, overland deliveries all but ceased; what has resumed is minuscule. Those dependent on food aid now number 7.5 million, an increase of about 50 percent — entirely attributable to the ensuing crisis…. The bombing must stop as soon as possible…”
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ALINA LABRADA
A spokesperson for CARE, Labrada said today: “Failed crops due to the worst drought in 30 years have left almost nothing for the fierce winter ahead. Meanwhile, the U.S. military has air-dropped tens of thousands of food packages which many people have seen on TV. Even if all these reach their intended recipients, these airdrops would only feed roughly one half of 1 percent of Afghans in need. Plus, the people of Afghanistan need supplies that can’t be dropped from the sky: fuel for cooking, shelter, and of course, clean water. On-the-ground is the most effective way to distribute food and supplies.”
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DIDERIK VON HALSEMA
NICHOLAS DE TORRENTE
Spokesperson for Doctors Without Borders in Islamabad, Von Halsema said today: “Besides being a drop in the bucket, airdrops are problematic for many reasons. Without aid workers on the ground we have no way of ensuring that the food gets to the needy. It’s likely that women, children and other vulnerable segments of the population are not able to get to the food. Also, airdrops could pose a danger to the intended recipients, as Afghanistan is the most heavily mined country in the world. And last, we are seriously concerned about the mix-up of the military effort with the humanitarian action. Recipients should know that the aid they are getting is free of political agendas. The Geneva Conventions define humanitarian action as neutral, independent and impartial.” Torrente is the group’s U.S. director.
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SAM BARRATT
Barratt is the spokesperson for Oxfam International in Islamabad. He said today: “Our main concern is getting food into the heartland of Afghanistan before the winter sets in — we only have four weeks.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167