• Short Summary

    Attempts to prevent large-scale starvation in remote Ghor Province of Afghanistan are being carried out by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

  • Description

    Attempts to prevent large-scale starvation in remote Ghor Province of Afghanistan are being carried out by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Foodstuffs, medicines, and blankets are being rushed to the mountainous region where thousands of women and children seriously weakened by almost three years of scarcity, are facing the threat of atarvation over the winter unless adequate stocks of food can be built up before snow closes the passes this month (October).

    The current emergency is the result of unprecedented drought during 1969/70 and part of 1971, which resulted in severe food shortages in Ghor Province and some adjacent areas. The lack of fodder for cattle herds, that are the mainstay of Afghanistan's economy, has deprived many people in the area of their only means of livelihood.

    So far UNICEF has allocated 200,000 dollars (80, 000 sterling) for the operation to help the estimated 40,000 to 50,000 persons most critically affected, the majority being children. But, because of the high transport costs involved UNICEF will probably have to appeal for further funds to continue the operation.

    Other international groups are participating in the relief efforts including the World Food Programme which will distribute foodstuffs through health centres, and the United States Peace Corps which is assisting an Afghanistan Government "Food For Work" programme in the area.

    SYNOPSIS: In the remote, mountainous Ghor Province of Afghanistan, dust blows through an area once covered with crops and pastures. More than two years of unprecedented drought have wiped ??? the cattle herds that once were the mainstay of the region's economy and brought the population to the brink of starvation. Even in fields that can still be used for farming, crop yields have been meagre, threatening the region's population of three-hundred thousand over the bitter winter.

    The Untied Nations Children's Fund -- known as UNICEF -- has been rushing supplies of foodstuffs, medical supplies, blankets and clothing to the area before October snows block the mountain passes into the province. Because most of the roads are quite treacherous, trucks can only be leaded to half their capacity.

    Many of the people threatened by the critical situation live in caves above the town of Chakhcharan. Forty or fifty-thousand women and children are most directly affected by the scarcity of food and clothing. Unless the relief operations, begun in September, can build up adequate stocks of food before snow blocks the passes they may not be able to live through the winter. Temperatures in the region reach 45 degrees below zero centigrade during the winter months, and the shelter of the caves will not be adequate protection.

    UNICEF has allocated two-hundred thousand dollars for the operation to help the most critically affected, the majority being children.

    Because of the immensity of the operation, and the high cost of moving supplies into the area, UNICEF will probably have to appeal for further funds to continue their efforts....Gordan Carter, regional director of UNICEF is coordinating the operation along with Claude Nombia who directed the Bangladesh relief operations.

    Current food distribution made by the Afghanistan Government feed about two-hundred people each day. The UNICEF rations on the way will be able to provide daily rations for thirty-??? thousand children for the seven months the region will be isolated from the rest of the country....Blankets and clothes are also being distributed.

    An Australian couple are handling the current phase of the operation in Chakhcharan. They originally came to the area on vacation, but stayed when they saw the plight of the inhabitants. All these operation are working against time....the time when for seven months the population must live off the supplies stored during the next few weeks.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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