Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Africa Left to Starve As Aid Flow Evaporates
allAfrica.com/All Africa Global Media ^ | 3-27-03 | by George Monbiot

Posted on 03/27/2003 11:33:11 AM PST by Oldeconomybuyer

London, Mar 18, 2003 (allAfrica.com/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- As cash is poured into the war with Iraq and its aftermath, the world could soon be confronted by a humanitarian funding crisis graver than any since the end of the Second World War, according to George Monbiot, a London-based writer and visiting professor of environmental science at the University of East London. A worsening emergency is engulfing Africa, where aid flows have slowed to a tiny portion of what is required.

There is surely no more obvious symptom of the corruption of western politics than the disproportion between the money available for sustaining life and the money available for terminating it.

We could, I think, expect that, if they were asked to vote on the matter, most of the citizens of the rich world would demand that their governments spend as much on humanitarian aid as they spend on developing new means of killing people. But the military-industrial complex is a beast which becomes both fiercer and greedier the more it is fed.

As the United States prepares to spend some $12 billion a month on bombing the Iraqis, it has so far offered only $65 million to provide them with food, water, sanitation, shelter and treatment for the injuries they are likely to receive. A confidential UN contingency plan for Iraq, which was leaked in January, suggests that the war could expose around one million children to "risk of death from malnutrition."

It warns that "the collapse of essential services in Iraq could lead to a humanitarian emergency of proportions well beyond the capacity of UN agencies and other aid organizations." Around 60 per cent of the population is entirely dependent on the oil for food programme, administered by the Iraqi government. This scheme was suspended by the UN yesterday, leaving the Iraqis reliant on foreign aid. The money pledged so far is enough to sustain the Iraqis for less than a fortnight.

It is hard to believe, however, that the US government will leave them to starve once it has captured their country. For the weeks or months during which Iraq dominates the news, the US will be obliged to defend them from the most immediate impacts of the institutional collapse its war will cause. Afterwards, like the people of Afghanistan, the Iraqis will be first forgotten by the media and then deserted by those who promised to support them.

But even before the first troops cross the border, the impending war has caused a global humanitarian crisis. As donor countries set aside their aid budgets to save both themselves and the United States from embarrassment under the camera lights in Baghdad, they have all but ceased to provide money to other nations. The world, as a result, could soon be confronted by a humanitarian funding crisis graver than any since the end of the Second World War.

Every year, in November, the United Nations agencies that deal with disasters launch what they call a "consolidated appeal" for each of the countries suffering a "complex emergency". They expect to receive the money they request by May of the following year.

The payments and promises they have extracted so far chart the collapse of international concern for the people of almost every nation except Iraq. The impact on Africa is particularly serious.

In Eritrea, for example, the drought is so severe that the water table has fallen by ten metres. Most of the nation's crops have failed and grain prices have doubled. Seventy per cent of its 3.3 million people are now classified as vulnerable to famine. The United Nations has asked the rich countries for $163m to help them. It has received $4m, or 2.5% of the money it requested.

Burundi, where almost one sixth of the inhabitants have been forced out of their homes by conflict and natural disasters, and which is now officially listed as the third poorest nation on earth, has received 3% of its UN request.

Liberia, where rebels have rendered much of the western part of the country uninhabitable, forcing some 500,000 people out of their homes, has been given 1.2%; Sierra Leone, where lassa fever is now rampaging through the refugee camps, has received 1%; and Guinea, which has recently taken 82,000 refugees from Cote d'Ivoire, 0.4%. Somalia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo have all received less than 6%.

Much of the money for these invisible countries has come from donor nations with relatively small economies, such as Sweden, Norway, Canada and Ireland. "The state of Africa", Tony Blair told his Labour Party conference in October 2001, "is a scar on the conscience of the world, but if the world focused on it, we could heal it". Well, let it now be a scar on the conscience of Tony Blair.

As a result of this unprecedented failure by the rich nations to cough up, the people of the forgotten countries will, very soon, begin to starve to death. The UN has warned that "a break in supplies" to Eritrea "is now inevitable". The World Food Programme has started feeding fewer people there, but will run out of food within two months.

In Burundi it can, it says, continue feeding people "for another four weeks". Beans will run out in Liberia this month; cereals in May. One hundred thousand refugees in Guinea could find themselves without food by August.

Yet neither of the two governments that have launched a "humanitarian war" in Iraq appear to be concerned by the impending humanitarian catastrophes in the world's poorest nations.

This is an edited version of an article published on 18 March 2003 in the London Guardian. Other articles are available on George Monbiot's Web site. All the statistics on Consolidated Appeal requests come from http://www.reliefweb.int/fts/reports/reports.asp?section=CE&year=2003" target="_blank">Relief Web (as of 16 March 2003).


TOPICS: Canada; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Germany; Government; Israel; Japan; Mexico; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; Russia; United Kingdom; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: africa; catastrophes; disasters; refugees
This is the "money grows on trees" in America crowd.
1 posted on 03/27/2003 11:33:12 AM PST by Oldeconomybuyer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
They think they are entitled to our money.
2 posted on 03/27/2003 11:34:42 AM PST by lady lawyer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: Oldeconomybuyer
I think that everyone who wants to give them money should have the opportunity - all they need to do is write checks from their own accounts. It would be nice to know how good it really makes them feel.
4 posted on 03/27/2003 11:36:41 AM PST by trebb
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
But there should be no problem here at all. Zimbabwe is a major producer of food. They have a class of skilled and experienced farmers who can grow a great deal of food and provide enough food for all. Or, have things changed in Zimbabwe lately? Funny ... I don't recall the media talking it.
5 posted on 03/27/2003 11:36:57 AM PST by ClearCase_guy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
We could, I think, expect that, if they were asked to vote on the matter, most of the citizens of the rich world would demand that their governments spend as much on humanitarian aid as they spend on developing new means of killing people.

Actually, no, we wouldn't.
We would rather not kill anyone - if they would not try and kill us first.
And we would rather you get off your lazy a$$ and support yourselves!

6 posted on 03/27/2003 11:37:58 AM PST by grobdriver
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
It's also the crowd that fails to see that racist socialist governments and lawlessness are what's killing Africa.

For instance, the most urgently needed "aid" in Zimbabwe is removal of Mugabe's head.

7 posted on 03/27/2003 11:38:42 AM PST by jimt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
I vote for the HH's (Hollywood humanitarians) to feed Africa.
8 posted on 03/27/2003 11:39:22 AM PST by LouisianaJoanof Arc
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer

I see that yet another European racist is calling for the recolonalization of Africa via Dollars and Euros, as if Africans aren't evolved enough to take care of their own affairs.

9 posted on 03/27/2003 11:40:51 AM PST by Southack (Media bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
Anyone who feels that another country deserves to have us (or anyone else for that matter)feed and protect that other country has the RIGHT to send a personal check to one of the hundreds (thousands?) of charities in the world. I'm sure that the charity they choose will be glad to cash their checks.
10 posted on 03/27/2003 11:42:48 AM PST by Semper Vigilantis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
I did not get the memo that said other countries are entitled by some global proclamation to receive US aid and that we cannot increase or decrease it at will. Perhaps if some of these countries wanting - strike that, imperiously demanding as a birthright - our aid had supported our foreign policies in the UN we would not have to spend so much on Iraq and might have a bit more spare change for them?

It's one thing for them to be a needy beggar, but to be a needy, greedy, demanding beggar is a bit much.

11 posted on 03/27/2003 11:43:04 AM PST by KellyAdmirer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
"Hello...Africa?"


Ding ding ding!

"Hello?....Hello?...Is there someone with a brain available?"

I suppose these kleptocrats suppose that when one heaves oneself out of bed in the morning to go to work to pay the taxes to feed the bloat that is government that the first thought to cross one's mind is,'How can I feed some Africans today'?

Narcissism is not confined to the decadent West, apparently.
12 posted on 03/27/2003 11:43:42 AM PST by headsonpikes
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
and I suppose we are supposed to feed africa then-- I guess the european colonial powers are too busy selling out to Iraq
13 posted on 03/27/2003 11:45:01 AM PST by Nat Turner
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
Um...aren't there several dozen nations that have pointedly refused to be part of the war against Iraq? France? Germany? Belgium?

Come on, Jacques, Gerhard...pony up.

14 posted on 03/27/2003 11:45:21 AM PST by denydenydeny
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
Its our duty to feed them while they reproduce and they do not bother to cultivate their own food.

Why is this our problem?
15 posted on 03/27/2003 11:47:24 AM PST by AlmightySR
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
I won't even pretend to know the answers to Africa's problems.
Too many people, not enough hungry lions?
16 posted on 03/27/2003 11:47:32 AM PST by Lee Heggy ("A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." Lao Tzu)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
Well, since the $15 billion for AIDS was an insult, we'd hate to insult them further by prviding anything less than the $567 trillion they think they are entitled to, and we just don't have that right now. Economic downturn, donchyaknow.
17 posted on 03/27/2003 11:48:47 AM PST by Teacher317
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: grobdriver
Great response grobbie!!!

I love this guy and his "citizens of the rich world" remark. What world would that be I wonder? Mars, Neptune, Vulcan?
18 posted on 03/27/2003 11:49:35 AM PST by Arizona Pard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: LouisianaJoanof Arc
I vote for the HH's (Hollywood humanitarians) to feed Africa.

You slice and dice 'em and I will cook them.

19 posted on 03/27/2003 11:52:34 AM PST by Blue Screen of Death
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
Maybe the rest of the world should let the immutable laws of logical consequences take their course among the stewards of "mother Africa".
20 posted on 03/27/2003 11:56:07 AM PST by Amerigomag
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Hobey Baker
Yeah, UN, start helping out Africa, for they need it.
Let the UN show how much they care.
21 posted on 03/27/2003 11:56:29 AM PST by tessalu
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
"according to George Monbiot, a London-based writer and visiting professor of environmental science at the University of East London."

Let me know how much of his personal money he has given to this cause and I will think about giving some too after I give to the scouts.
22 posted on 03/27/2003 12:09:45 PM PST by PeterPrinciple
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
Back when Live Aid was trying to save Eritrea (or watever), my father suggested that we drop bombs on them. He likened it to thinning a deer herd. Kill some, so that most can live. At the time it seemed like black humor. Now, I would seriously prefer to wage war against Africa than to give them either money or food. Sorry. They're on their own, as far as I'm concerned.
23 posted on 03/27/2003 12:13:28 PM PST by ClearCase_guy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: grobdriver
if they were asked to vote on the matter, most of the citizens of the rich world would demand that their governments spend as much on humanitarian aid as they spend on developing new means of killing people.

We spend that much on weapons precisely because there are so many people convinced they have a right to our wealth and resources, and would harm us to take it if we did not have the means of stopping them. If others were not so d@mn insistent on taking what we have, we would be far more willing to share.

24 posted on 03/27/2003 12:44:38 PM PST by ctdonath2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
Complaints while Mugabe murders or drives out the most productive farmers in Zimbabwe and some of these knucklehead listen to our European competitors in the agricultureal market that our genetically improved foods are poison.

Ignorance has its rewards--pestilence and death.
25 posted on 03/27/2003 1:09:15 PM PST by wildbill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
I hear France has lots of extra money to help out with.
26 posted on 03/27/2003 2:00:21 PM PST by The Old Hoosier (Since when have conservatives wanted to fight wars for the UN?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson