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The Case Against Emergency Food Aid

Niger’s food emergency has reached the world’s headlines, but the crisis there is only one part of a much larger disaster. On an extended trip this summer through rural areas of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa on behalf of the United Nations, I visited countless villages afflicted with extreme hunger and struggling to survive against the odds.

The villages that I visited – in Tajikistan, Yemen, Mali, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Malawi, Cambodia, and elsewhere – reflect the condition of hundreds of millions of impoverished people worldwide. Whether caused by drought, exhausted soils, locusts, lack of high-yield seeds, the results were the same: desperation, disease, and death.