MORE MONEY NEEDED FOR INTERNATIONAL FOOD AID:
Why We're behind the Curve
In the 2005 budget year the U.S. Agency for International Development had $1.183 billion for food aid. Three-quarters of it was planned for development programs -to demonstrate and teach variable crop rotation, water conservation and irrigation; to improve roads, and instruct mothers in healthy nutritional and sanitation methods. Regrettably, most of the money had to go for emergency aid.
Andrew S. Natsos, who administers A.I.D., fears the same will happen this year. The cost of responding to emergencies is said to be seven times the cost of preventing them. The shortfall has been compared to a city budget that cancels money for smoke detectors and fire safety inspections to buy a new fire engine.
Another billion dollars (not expected to be forthcoming) would cover both emergency needs AND long-range development efforts. These programs would be managed by non-governmental organizations - Save the Children, WorldVision, Catholic Relief Services and others.
Catholic social teaching is clear: We should feed the hungry (but we should not create dependencies). Our solidarity with all people asserts the obligation to help others in a world that is interconnected and increasingly plagued with hunger and misery. Pope Paul VI wrote: "Development is the new name for peace." President Bush (State of the Union message, 2005:) "If whole regions of the world remain in despair* and grow in hatred, they will be the recruiting ground for terror."
Conclusion: Pope Paul VI - it is the moral thing to relieve hunger. President Bush - it is in our national interest to relieve hunger.
Concerned readers are urged to write to policy makers in Washington, D.C.
*Some places of despair: Angola: Seventy percent live on less than 70 cents a day. India: About 300 million (more than our U.S. population) live on less than a dollar a day.
[Information for this reflection was taken from "America", Oct. 10, 2005 "The New Name for Peace"]