status of humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Dec 7 12:39:47 MST 2001

Marco wrote:
>I'm wondering what the current status of this crisis is, now that the
"war" seems to be coming to an end, at least in Afghanistan, quicker than
many thought.  Have many already starved because of the war?  And what
about the bombardment of bridges and roads, will this make it harder to
deliver aid once there is some sort of peace in Afghanistan?  And what
about those cluster-bomb look-alike food drops, is that still going on?

NY Times, December 6, 2001

As Refugees Suffer, Supplies Sit Unused Near Afghan Border
MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan, Dec. 5 — Last week it rained and Ramazan's
2-year-old son and 50-year-old father fell ill and died, two more sorry
statistics here in the Nasarji refugee camp on the southern part of town
where at least 19 people have died in the last month. Ramazan began
building mud walls and a roof to replace his makeshift tent, but it snowed
on Tuesday and now he is fearful he will lose his other children.

He says everyone is going to die if this goes on. His other son, Hussein,
4, is getting thinner. "Bashir died because he was hungry and because it is
cold," he said of his younger son. 

Refugee camps are dotted all over this city, bedraggled lines of rags and
blankets over thin poles amid thick mud and frozen pools of water. There
are an estimated half a million displaced people in northern Afghanistan,
some of them with no more than a piece of sacking over a pole for shelter.

Victims of war and three years of crippling drought, these people are at
the end of their endurance, aid officials here say.

But help lies just a 45-minute drive away, where tons of supplies sit just
across the border in Termez, Uzbekistan. Delivery of the supplies to the
desperately needy here is blocked by the Uzbekistan government's refusal to
allow trucks across the only bridge that spans the Amu Darya.

So there is virtually nothing here. Nearly a month after the Northern
Alliance chased the Taliban from Mazar-i-Sharif, the international
assistance that was promised has not followed. Only two international aid
agencies have arrived — the International Committee of the Red Cross and
Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) — and they admit their
assistance is not nearly enough.


Louis Proyect
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