Government caught between competing demands for aid

Government caught between competing demands for aid

By staff writers
24 Mar 2003

Government caught between competing demands for aid

-24/3/2003

The Government appears to be caught between competing demands for aid, as the conflict in Iraq continues.

At the end of last week, five charities including Christian Aid and Cafod, warned that millions could starve if the current system for food distribution breaks down.

Over the weekend however, an Evangelical relief agency TEAR Fund warned that if world attention and aid effort are re-directed from Africa to the Gulf, then the food crisis in countries like Eritrea and Ethiopia may well get worse.

The government has been told that it must "massively" scale-up its funding to the UN relief effort if ministers hope to avert a looming humanitarian crisis in Iraq.

The directors of five charities - Save the Children, Cafod, ActionAid, Christian Aid and Oxfam have called on the UN security council to urgently pass a new resolution to set up alternative distribution systems for a country in which up to 16m people relied on UN food aid even before the war started.

In a joint statement, the group of aid charities warned that military action in the Gulf is likely to internally displace up to 3m Iraqis, a situation for which the international community has only "very limited" preparedness.

The Department for International Development (DFID) has earmarked an initial £10m for humanitarian work, but the charities have complained that this "tiny" amount is coming from the DFID's existing budget and could be diverted from crises elsewhere in the world.

Daleep Mukarji, the director of Christian Aid said; "The warring parties have obligations under international law to avoid civilian casualties and to ensure civilians have safe access to food, shelter, water and medical attention. These obligations must be metî.

Speaking on Radio 4 at the weekend International Director of Tearfund, Iain Wallace said that whilst their partners in Jordan were already dealing with the first refugees from the war, their partners in Africa where very worried that their work would be forgotten.

The Government appears to be caught between competing demands for aid, as the conflict in Iraq continues.

At the end of last week, five charities including Christian Aid and Cafod, warned that millions could starve if the current system for food distribution breaks down.

Over the weekend however, an Evangelical relief agency TEAR Fund warned that if world attention and aid effort are re-directed from Africa to the Gulf, then the food crisis in countries like Eritrea and Ethiopia may well get worse.

The government has been told that it must "massively" scale-up its funding to the UN relief effort if ministers hope to avert a looming humanitarian crisis in Iraq.

The directors of five charities - Save the Children, Cafod, ActionAid, Christian Aid and Oxfam have called on the UN security council to urgently pass a new resolution to set up alternative distribution systems for a country in which up to 16m people relied on UN food aid even before the war started.

In a joint statement, the group of aid charities warned that military action in the Gulf is likely to internally displace up to 3m Iraqis, a situation for which the international community has only "very limited" preparedness.

The Department for International Development (DFID) has earmarked an initial £10m for humanitarian work, but the charities have complained that this "tiny" amount is coming from the DFID's existing budget and could be diverted from crises elsewhere in the world.

Daleep Mukarji, the director of Christian Aid said; "The warring parties have obligations under international law to avoid civilian casualties and to ensure civilians have safe access to food, shelter, water and medical attention. These obligations must be metî.

Speaking on Radio 4 at the weekend International Director of Tearfund, Iain Wallace said that whilst their partners in Jordan were already dealing with the first refugees from the war, their partners in Africa where very worried that their work would be forgotten.

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