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We Should Do Everything Within Our Power to Feed Pakistan

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Former Army Chief and Secretary of State George Marshall confronted the enemy of world hunger on more than one occasion. Marshall, as an envoy in 1946, worked “to get the Yangtze River traffic re-established to reach the most acute famine areas” of China, according to Herbert Hoover.

When confronted with a hunger crisis in Europe after World War II, Marshall said, “Every humane, economic, and world political interest of the United States dictates that we, the American people, should do everything within our power to help feed the people of Europe this winter.” This leadership was integral to the massive reconstruction program for Europe known as the Marshall Plan.

This was a foreign policy fueled by food, understanding its value as the foundation for all other objectives. It’s a philosophy that should apply today in Pakistan as aid workers are trying desperately to feed millions of people in their flood-ravaged country.

At least 6 million Pakistanis urgently need food aid. Josette Sheeran, the director of the World Food Programme, says: “People have lost seeds, crops and their incomes leaving them vulnerable to hunger, homelessness and desperation – the situation is extremely critical. We urgently need continued and strengthened commitment to the people of Pakistan in this time of crisis.”

Funding right now is low for the relief effort. A WFP situation report says there is “a shortfall of just under US$90 million” for feeding Pakistan. WFP adds: “While many donors have announced pledges, WFP urges them to confirm their donations in order to avoid breaks in the food pipeline in September.”

A cut in rations would be devastating, not only from a humanitarian perspective but also in terms of building peace and friendship between Pakistanis and the U.S. and its allies. Do we help them or let them further descend into the chaos of hunger and desperation?  Marshall once said, “hunger and insecurity are the worst enemies of peace.”

The people of Pakistan need the support and compassion of the world community.  They have suffered shock after shock when you consider that just a year ago the war raged in the Swat Valley between the government and the Taliban. 

With such large-scale suffering and an enormous relief task, where do you begin?  It all starts with food, the ultimate foundation.

To donate to the relief effort, please visit the World Food Program USA site.

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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.