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Pakistani Children Facing Severe Malnutrition

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Last week the Rhode Island company Edesia sent off a shipment of supplementary plumpy’nut (a peanut-based food commonly used for famine relief) to help fight child malnutrition in Pakistan. This is part of a global effort to provide relief to Pakistanis after the massive flooding which impacted millions of people.

Tragically, the effort to help Pakistan is facing a severe funding shortfall. As a result, shipments from Edesia and other food producers are not enough to meet the current challenge.

Child malnutrition is fast rising in Pakistan. The World Food Programme reports in one survey “that 27 percent of almost 2,000 children screened are severely malnourished, with 20 percent falling in the moderate category. Approximately 17 percent of surveyed pregnant and lactating women were also found to be malnourished.”

Supplementary plumpy being prepared for shipment to Pakistan. (Edesia photo)

The consequences of malnutrition jeopardize the future of many Pakistani children. Lack of proper nourishment at this young age causes irreversible physical and mental damage.

WFP is short about $80 million for the next two months’ operation. WFP says it “may be forced to eliminate certain commodities from the food basket, reduce ration sizes, or limit the number of beneficiaries in receipt of assistance.”

This is a disaster for the relief operation, not to mention any hopes for reconstruction. For WFP to provide food relief into mid-2011, it requires $398 million more.

The U.S. and international partners need to respond to this massive crisis. What is missing from U.S. planning at the highest levels is the realization that food is the very basis of achieving foreign policy objectives. Any plans for peace and stability in Pakistan rest on a foundation of food, particularly for children. The same can also be said for Afghanistan which is facing its own food and child malnutrition crisis.

The feeding and rehabilitation of children is a basic tenet of U.S. foreign policy, made most famous during the World Wars. The key is that where there is a breakdown in this effort, you fix it.

A full-time food ambassador, appointed by President Obama, should be at work obtaining the necessary food supplies for these countries. In this way, international cooperation can best be achieved to fight hunger and promote the necessary reconstruction for Pakistan.
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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.
  • http://www.thehandbookofrelaxation.com jing827

    It’s such a tragic scene to see innocent children suffering from severe malnutition. Maybe the solution would be for the 2 adults (wanting to have a baby) to consider if they can afford to raise a child decently.