Are Western Countries Determined To Starve The People Of Afghanistan?

On January 11, 2022, the United Nations (UN) Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths appealed to the international community to help raise $4.4 billion for Afghanistan in humanitarian aid, calling this effort, “the largest ever appeal for a single country for humanitarian assistance.” This amount is required “in the hope of shoring up collapsing basic services there,” said the UN. If this appeal is not met, Griffiths said, then “next year [2023] we’ll be asking for $10 billion.”

The figure of $10 billion is significant. A few days after the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in mid-August 2021, the US government announced the seizure of $9.5 billion in Afghan assets that were being held in the US banking system. Under pressure from the United States government, the International Monetary Fund also denied Afghanistan access to $455 million of its share of special drawing rights, the international reserve asset that the IMF provides to its member countries to supplement their original reserves.

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Rising Food Prices Could Spark Famine, War, And Revolution In 2022

Washington – Already dealing with the economic fallout from a protracted pandemic, the rapidly rising prices of food and other key commodities have many fearing that unprecedented political and social instability could be just around the corner next year.

With the clock ticking on student loan and rent debts, the price of a standard cart of food has jumped 6.4% in the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the cost of eating out in a restaurant similarly spiking, by 5.8% since November 2020.

The most notable change has been in the price of meat, with beef costing 26.2% more than it did last year, pork 19.2% more and chicken 14.8% more. Bacon prices have reached historic levels, and are now 36% higher than in 1980, even after adjusting for inflation.

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US Food Banks Struggle To Feed Hungry Amid Surging Prices

Oakland, CA — U.S. food banks already dealing with increased demand from families sidelined by the pandemic now face a new challenge — surging food prices and supply chain issues walloping the nation.

The higher costs and limited availability mean some families may get smaller servings or substitutions for staples such as peanut butter, which costs nearly double what it did a year ago. As holidays approach, some food banks worry they won’t have enough stuffing and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“What happens when food prices go up is food insecurity for those who are experiencing it just gets worse,” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief operating officer of Feeding America, a nonprofit organization that coordinates the efforts of more than 200 food banks across the country.

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If All Refugees Lived In One Place, It Would Be The 17th Most Populous Country

On 5 October, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a historic, non-legally binding resolution that ‘recognises the right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as a human right that is important for the enjoyment of human rights’. Such a right should force governments who sit at the table at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow later this month to think about the grievous harm caused by the polluted system that shapes our lives. In 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) pointed out that 92% of the world’s population breathes toxic air quality; in the developing world, 98% of children under five are inflicted with such bad air. Polluted air, mostly from carbon emissions, results in 13 deaths per minute globally.

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Soaring Food Prices Drive Hunger Around The World

The 2021 Global Hunger Index (GHI), published on Thursday, revealed soaring levels of hunger among the poor and working populations around the globe.

The foreword, written by the heads of Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide, the organizations responsible for the GHI, stated that the report “points to a dire hunger situation, a result of the toxic cocktail of the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and increasingly severe and protracted conflicts.”

Rising food prices are a critical contributing factor in the growth of world hunger over the past year. Rapidly mounting inflation and the disruption of the supply chain networks of global capitalism are driving up the prices of all basic consumer goods. The U.S. Energy Information Authority reported that nearly half of all US households who use natural gas to heat their homes will pay an average of 30 to 50 percent more this winter for heating than last year.

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Colleges And Policymakers Can Help Keep Students From Going Hungry

The pandemic has created extraordinary need for millions of people across the U.S. This is particularly acute, though often hidden, on college campuses, where students are sometimes left to choose between paying rent and having enough to eat.

During their college careers, far too many students lack reliable access to nutritious food, hampering their efforts to advance their education and skills.

Even before the pandemic, 43 percent of students at two- and four-year colleges reported facing food insecurity — defined as limited or uncertain access to adequate food — in the previous month, the nonprofit Hope Center found. Black, Latino and Native American students were at even greater risk. This inequality compounds systemic economic disparities.

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Hunger Stalks The United States

According to the United Nations, the world produces enough food to feed 10 billion people. Yet this year, even in the United States, the world’s richest country, 1 in 3 American families with kids went hungry. Even before the pandemic, in 2019, official statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) detailed that 35 million people went hungry–10 million of them children.

The COVID-19 pandemic supercharged the situation, exposing even those who felt “secure” to the possibility of going without eating. In a society where food is not a human right but a good to be purchased, how were people supposed to eat if they couldn’t work?

The short answer: they didn’t. Receiving almost no help from the federal government, working people in the United States were laid off by the millions.

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Saudis And US Double Cost Of Yemen’s Staple Goods

Aden, Yemen – “The prices are skyrocketing. We can’t feed our children. They are starving,” Saher Abdu Salem, a government employee and a mother of five, said as she participated in a protest in Aden against Saudi Arabia and the government of ousted Yemeni President Abdul-Mansour al-Hadi. The protests took place at the Aden port this week in the wake of a recent decision by the Saudi-backed government in Aden to raise the U.S. dollar exchange rate for major life-saving goods. Now Saher and her husband are struggling to feed their family in the coastal city where the price of the staple ‘rooti’ loaf of bread has soared 250% in a month, its portion halved in size. “When the U.S. State Department expresses its concern over us, this means that it will deal a new blow to our hungry stomachs,” she said.

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How Did Nicaragua Reduce Hunger And Malnutrition?

Despite crippling, unilateral sanctions and globally rising food prices, hunger levels in Nicaragua have been falling. The Sandinista government has been able to ensure people’s food needs are met through its focus on building food sovereignty and security. How has this been achieved?

Erika Takeo from Nicaragua’s Association of Rural Workers (ATC) and Rohan Rice, a writer and campaigner with the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign explain.

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‘Feed ‘Em All!’ Fridge With Free Food Now Open In Maywood

On an early Saturday afternoon, about a dozen residents and local organizers gathered in Maywood outside of the childhood home of Black Panther icon Fred Hampton. Armed with boxes of fresh whole corn, cherries, peaches and greens, they stood ready to stock a new community fridge that will provide people access to food 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Maywood is a food desert,” said Anthony Clark, an Oak Park activist and founder of Suburban Unity Alliance, a nonprofit that led the charge to open the community’s first public refrigerator.

“It’s all corner stores,” Clark said. “For people to even think about accessing fresh produce, they need money. They need to be able to travel. They have to leave the community and take their money outside of the community.”

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Civil Society Calls On Congress To End War And Blockade On Yemen

New York – Civil society groups rallied at U.S. legislators’ offices in New York, Boston, and San Francisco on Friday, July 16th as part of a National Day of Action for Yemen. They called for U.S. senators & representatives to introduce a new War Powers Resolution to end U.S. participation in the 6-year war and blockade on Yemen that has created the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, according to the U.N. 

In Boston, Brian Garvey of Massachusetts Peace Action noted, “We’re not going to stop until we end the U.S. war in Yemen, and that means War Powers….It’s the only legislation that meets the urgency right now.”

During the Day of Action, letters were hand-delivered (see letter to Sen. Sanders below) to local offices of the following legislators signed by dozens of local civil society groups in each state calling for the new War Powers Resolution.

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Peace In Colombia Should Mean Land Reform And An End To Hunger

Since the end of April, Colombia’s streets have smelled of tear gas. The government of Colombian President Iván Duque imposed policies that put the costs of the pandemic on the working class and the peasantry and tried to suffocate any advancement of the Havana peace accords of 2016. Discontent led to street protests, which were repressed harshly by the government. These protests, Rodrigo Granda of Colombia’s Comunes party told us in an interview, “are defined by the wide participation of youth, women, artists, religious people, the Indigenous, Afro-Colombians, unions and organizations from neighborhoods of the poor and the working class. Practically the whole of Colombia is part of the struggle.”

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State Of The World: Poverty Is Widespread

The world’s population was about 7.8 billion people in 2020. About 2.2 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, and over 4 billion do not have safe sanitation.(1) About 800 million suffer from chronic undernourishment. A fifth of all children under 5 suffer from stunted growth.(2) Each year approximately 6 million children and many millions of adults die of easily preventable diseases(3) and 9 million people die of hunger.(4) Some progress has been made on some of these issues, particularly in China. However, things have been getting worse in other regions, such as Africa.(5) Since 1960, the income gap between rich countries and poor countries has roughly tripled in size.

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US Trying To Extradite Diplomat For The ‘Crime’ Of Securing Food For The Hungry

Special envoy and ambassador to the African Union for Venezuela, Alex Saab, was on a humanitarian mission flying from Caracas to Iran to procure food and gasoline for the Venezuelan CLAP food assistance program. Saab was detained on a refueling stop in the African nation of Cabo Verde and has been held in custody ever since June 12, 2020.

Saab’s “crime,” according to the US government, which ordered the imprisonment, was money laundering. That is, Saab conducted perfectly legal international trade, but his circumventing the US sanctions – which are designed to prevent relief to the Venezuelans – is considered by Washington to be money laundering.

The Swiss government, after a two-year investigation into Saab’s transactions with Swiss banks, concluded on March 25 that there was no money laundering.

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‘People Are Not Starving, They Are Being Starved’

Over international 250 organizations are demanding urgent action from global governments to address the hunger and famine faced by hundreds of millions—a crisis the groups said is driven largely by policy choices including ignored appeals for a global ceasefire and humanitarian funding.

“These people are not starving, they are being starved,” the groups wrote in an open letter released Tuesday.

Referencing the countries where they operate—Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Burkina Faso, DRC, Honduras, Venezuela, Nigeria, Haiti, CAR, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Sudan where they operate—the groups said, “These girls and boys, men and women, are being starved by conflict and violence; by inequality; by the impacts of climate change; by the loss of land, jobs, or prospects; by a fight against Covid-19 that has left them even further behind.”

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