Race is on to Aid Starving Villagers; UN to send copters
It is now snowing at Zahre, the village relief agencies are using as a base in the race to save thousands of people starving in the mountains of north-central <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />
Last week the International Rescue Committee found people in the area so hungry they were making bread from grass and plant roots. Some had died and many were severely malnourished and close to death.
With partner agencies, the IRC is carrying out a massive operation to get food to the villagers, many in remote and isolated settlements in an area with no roads.
Snow is something the IRC’s field coordinator, Idrees Rahmani, and his partners did not want at this critical stage. It will slow down and perhaps even block the way of donkey teams the IRC has hired to carry food up the narrow mountain tracks.
Idrees is in Zahre with staff members of the International Red Cross and the World Food Program. They're setting up a medical clinic there and distributing wheat to village people who've made their way to the base, collecting three months’ supply for each person
For the IRC, the main concern remains people farther up in the mountains who could be cut off even more now.
The WFP says it has delivered food to Zahre to feed 150,000 people, enough for the next six months. The problem is to get it to smaller villages, some in terrain too rough for even a helicopter to land.
The United Nations said in
Cold wet weather may be hard on the relief operation at Zahre, but it has raised hopes in other parts of
Snow and rain will bring short term misery to thousands of refugee families, but eventually it may mean they can begin sowing their crops again.
Kenneth Burslem, Information Officer
Phone: 92-91-43574 or eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org