James Morris, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, has launched an international alert, declaring that “we are losing the battle against hunger” and “the worst is yet to come” as food aid donations plummet, while the USA and UK step up their preparations to launch a war against Iraq which is estimated to cost tens of billions of dollars and is predicted to cause up to two million deaths in the region.
Mr. Morris was clear in the cause of the current food crisis: the money is being siphoned off to support the cause for war: "Not only are we losing the battle in emergencies like those in Afghanistan, North Korea and Africa, where we often lack the funds needed, we are losing the battle against the chronic hunger that bedevils the lives of hundreds of millions of families who are not the victims of war or natural disasters."
He added that there is more than enough food being produced worldwide, and that the problem is a political one. Attention is turned elsewhere while Africa is being forgotten. People are dying because the governments who have responsibilities could not care about them, so intent are they on waging war to appease the demands of the energy, steel and weapons lobbies surrounding the White House.
Food aid has decreased by 30% over the last three years, from 15 to 10 million metric tonnes, according to the WFP. More funding is needed to feed children at school so that they can benefit from their education and to help keep already sick people alive. People suffering from AIDS are susceptible to many more infections if they are under-nourished and often death is caused by a combination of the two factors.
With 800 million people in the world classified as “chronically hungry” by the WFP and a message that “the worst is yet to come” the notion that spending billions on a war without any legal justification is justified in any way is absurd. Rather, those who wage this war, should it arise, will be directly responsible for the deaths of those who die in the Gulf and indirectly responsible for the deaths of those who die of hunger elsewhere, through lack of funding.
This is the legacy of the policy followed by Messrs. Blair and Bush.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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