Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dependence on Aid Explodes as Wars Tear Nations Apart

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dependence on Aid Explodes as Wars Tear Nations Apart

Article excerpt

Regional conflicts have increased the number of people dependent on humanitarian aid by 60 percent in the last 10 years.

That finding was reached by U.S. intelligence agencies and was released last week to U.N. agencies responsible for planning and managing international relief operations.

The study found that 41.5 million people worldwide were dependent on international relief for their survival last year, but that was down from a record high of 45 million in 1993. "Large-scale humanitarian emergencies erupted (in the last 10 years) - in places such as the Balkan states, Iraq, Liberia, Rwanda and Somalia - while long-standing crises such as Afghanistan, Angola, Mozambique and Sudan persisted." Despite the decline since 1993, U.S. officials believe that the overall number of people dependent on aid will remain in the tens of millions for at least the next few years, because conflicts in Afghanistan, Burundi, Sudan and elsewhere show little sign of resolution. "The international community is going to have to get used to this," said one U.S. intelligence analyst. Unlike the millions of people who fled their homes in past wars in Europe, Korea, Cambodia and elsewhere, most of those now dependent on international aid do not fit the classic definition of "refugees" because they remain in their own countries. Last year, for example, the study estimated that there were 22 million "internally displaced" people worldwide, and 16 million people who fled across international borders to escape fighting. Helping "internally displaced persons" is often more costly and dangerous, because relief workers must get supplies to people still trapped in areas of fighting. Bosnia A Flashpoint From a humanitarian standpoint, the most severe crises are taking place in Afghanistan, Sudan and Bosnia-Herzegovina, each of which has resulted in about 4 million people dependent on international aid, the study said. …

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