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Schiller Institute Urges Funds for Afghan Health Platform; British Urge Billions to Fight Mythical `Global Warming’

Oct. 31 (EIRNS)–Schiller Institute Chair Helga Zepp-LaRouche in her weekly webcast yesterday reported that more than 2,000 hospitals in Afghanistan had closed during the fighting in that nation. Even more shocking, only 100 hospitals, most lacking medical supplies and adequate personnel, remain for 38 million people.

Mrs. LaRouche called on her audience to mobilize immediate emergency aid to be sent from the United States, Europe and the whole world; China has already done so. She called the needed supply action, “Operation Ibn Sina,” after the famous Persian doctor born in today’s Afghanistan, considered one of the greatest scientists of the Islamic Golden Age, and the father of modern medicine. Of the 250 books Ibn Sina is estimated to have written, 40 deal with medicine, including The Book of Healing, and the Canon of Medicine (which became a standard medical text at medieval universities until about 1650).

In a cynical juxtaposition to this heroic effort to save the nation of Afghanistan, police estimated last summer that the current “Climate Summit” in Glasgow could cost “several hundred million pounds,” nearly half a billion U.S. dollars. COP 26 will be the largest summit the U.K. has ever held, with up to 200 leaders expected. Better they stay home and focus on Operation Ibn Sina instead.


UN Official Warns of Economic Collapse and Food Insecurity in Afghanistan

Oct. 30 (EIRNS)–In New York, UN humanitarian affairs chief Martin Griffiths told The Associated Press in an interview that the G20 leaders should worry about Afghanistan because its economy is collapsing and half the population risks not having enough food to eat as the snows have already started to fall. Half the Afghan children under age five are at risk of acute malnutrition and there is an outbreak of measles in every single province which is “a red light” and “the canary in the mine” for what’s happening in society, he said.

Griffiths warned that food insecurity leads to malnutrition, then disease and death, and “absent corrective action” the world will be seeing deaths in Afghanistan. He said the World Food Program is feeding 4 million people in Afghanistan now, but the U.N. predicts that because of the dire winter conditions and the economic collapse it is going to have to provide food to triple that number — 12 million Afghans — “and that’s massive.”

“So, the message that I would give to the leaders of the G 20 is worry about economic collapse in Afghanistan, because economic collapse in Afghanistan will, of course, have an exponential effect on the region,” he said. “And the specific issue that I would ask them to focus on first, is the issue of getting cash into the economy in Afghanistan — not into the hands of the Taliban — into the hands of the people whose access to their own bank accounts is not frozen.”


Schiller Institute Internet Dialogue — ‘Need Creative Genius of the World to Bear on Haiti and Afghanistan’

Sept. 25 (EIRNS)—Today the Schiller Institute held an international webinar titled, “Reconstructing Haiti—America’s Way Out of the ‘Global Britain’ Trap. The two-and-a-half-hour discussion featured elements of a proposed development outline for Haiti, as well as immediate emergency action required, and brought together experts, with ties to Haiti, in engineering, medicine and development policy. Today’s deliberations stand in stark contrast to the events of the week, which included the U.S. forced deportation of thousands of displaced Haitians from the Texas-Mexico border, back to Haiti, to disaster conditions from the August earthquake and before.  

The six panelists were Richard Freeman, co-author of “The Schiller Institute Plan To Develop Haiti,” which EIR will publish this week for its Oct. 1 issue; Eric Walcott, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Institute of Caribbean Studies; Firmin Backer, co-founder and President of the Haiti Renewal Alliance; Joel DeJean, engineer and Texas activist with The LaRouche Organization; Dr. Walter Faggett, MD, based in Washington, D.C., where he is former Chief Medical Officer of the District of Columbia, and currently Co-Chairman of the Health Council of D.C.’s Ward 8, and an international leader with the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites; and moderator Dennis Speed of the Schiller Institute. 

Freeman presented both the dimensions of both the extreme underdevelopment forced for decades on Haiti, and also the essentials of a development program for that nation, in the context of development of all the Island of Hispaniola, and the Caribbean. He presented a map of proposed rail, nuclear power sites, safe water systems and other vital infrastructure. He showed maps of proposals that Chinese firms had made in recent years, but which fell into abeyance.

Firmin Backer pointed out that the USAID has spent $5.1 billion in Haiti over the 11 years since the 2010 earthquake, but what is there to show for it? Now, with the latest earthquake on Aug. 14, we can’t even get aid into the stricken zones, because there is no airport nor port in southern Haiti to serve the stricken people. We should reassess how wrongly the U.S. funding was spent. Firmin reported how Haiti was given some debt cancellation by the IMF years back, but then disallowed from seeking foreign credit! 

Eric Walcott was adamant, “We need the creative genius of the world to bear on Haiti and Afghanistan.” He said, “leverage the diaspora” to develop Haiti. There are more Haitian medics in New York and Miami than all of Haiti. He stressed that Haiti is not poor; the conditions are what is poor. But the population has pride, talent and resourcefulness. Walcott made a special point about elections in Haiti. He said, “Elections are a process,” not an event. He has experience. From 1998 to 2000, Walcott served as the lead observer for the OAS, for elections in Haiti. 

Joel DeJean, an American of Haitian lineage, was forceful about the need to aim for the highest level in that nation, for example, leapfrog from charcoal to nuclear power. He advised, “give China the opportunity” to deploy the very latest nuclear technology in Haiti—the pebble-bed gas cooled modular reactor. We “don’t need more nuclear submarines, we need nuclear technology!” He called for the establishment of a development bank in Haiti, and other specifics. 

Dr. Faggett summed up at many points, with the widest viewpoint and encouragement of action. He served in the U.S. military’s “Caribbean Peace-Keeping Force,” and was emphatic about taking action not only in Haiti, but worldwide. He referenced President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, saying that “you can tell a lot about people, by how they take care of the health of their people.” He reported that, at present, aid workers in Haiti, are having to shelter in place, because of the terrible conditions. 

But, he said, we should mobilize. Have “vaccine diplomacy,” and work to build a health platform in Haiti, and a health care delivery system the world over. He is “excited about realizing Helga’s mission,” referring to Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Chairwoman of the Schiller Institute, who issued a call in June 2020, for a world health security platform. At that time, she and Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General, formed the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites


UN World Food Systems Summit—World Food Program’s Beasley Bucks the Green Line, Goes for Saving Lives

Today’s UN World Food Systems Summit was a 13-hour marathon of 215+ speakers (mostly pre-recorded,) and short videos, on the themes of making commitments to altering food and farm practices to be “nature-positive” (as if humanity is unnatural). Dozens of national representatives spoke, along with NGOs and foundations, e.g. Melinda Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. All principal UN agency leaders spoke, from the World Health Organization to the Food and Agriculture Organization. There were some threatening statements, e.g. from Lord Goldsmith, the UK Minister for Pacific and the Environment, who said, “we must reconcile our lives and economics with the natural world,” and protect the Earth with “nature-based solutions.” He called for increasing forests, and reducing cropland.

David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Program (WFP) was outspoken that our task is to stop conflict and hunger. There were 4.7 million deaths over the past 18 months from COVID-19, but 16 million deaths from starvation, he said. “We’ve got the expertise. We’ve got the determination.” The question is, “What are we going to do?” He said that every day over this past year, the billionaire echelon increased their wealth by $5.2 billion, and 24,000 people died of starvation per day. This means the billionaires increased their wealth $216 million per hour, and 1,000 people per hour died. He began by estimated that there is $400 trillion of wealth in the world, and only a few billion are needed to save all the lives now in danger. Twice he said, “Shame on us.”

He did NOT speak about “resilience…inclusivity…women’s empowerment…indigenous rights…changing dietary consumption habits…nature enhancement….biodiversity” He said that we must produce and deliver the food, and stop the conflicts. He issued a call to action. That’s how to use the summit, he stressed. “Love our neighbor as an equal….A child in Niger is equal to a child in New York.” Save these lives. “Children can’t eat empty promises. It’s up to us to make food and nutrition a reality.”


Afghanistan’s Drought and Water Crisis Worsening; 2,000 Health Facilities Close

Afghanistan’s Drought and Water Crisis Are Worsening; 2,000 Health Facilities Close

Oct. 25, 2021 (EIRNS)–Afghanistan’s collapse in physical economic and agricultural production, the implosion of its health system, as well as the threat to human life, has gotten worse over the last two months. The nationwide drought is intensifying, while the West applies a tourniquet to the flow of necessary funds.

Physical economic conditions never stay in a “metastable state;” they either get better or worse.

In June of this year, then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani officially declared a drought in Afghanistan. This was based on information from several agencies, including the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), which declared that “80% of Afghanistan is exposed to serious drought”—30% to “severe drought,” and 50% to “serious drought,” comprising 80%—and the remaining 20% part of the country was exposed to “moderate drought.”

Richard Trenchard, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization director for Afghanistan, stated in late September, “This is the worst drought in 35–36 years. Many public institutions which provide a safety net, have ceased to function. Farmers have very little to fall back upon.”

Farming is being destroyed. The UN reported August 25, “Some 40 percent of [Afghanistan’s] crops have been lost to drought in the second massive water shortage in three years—further heightening food insecurity.” The World Food Program already reported that 14 million people in Afghanistan are food insecure, a number that is doubtless rising.

But the shortage of water is affecting not only agriculture, but the whole economy and society, which depends on water. A 2008 report reported “that drinking water supplies reach only 23 percent of Afghanistan’s total population… The country’s total sanitation coverage [is] only 12 percent.”

Two critical infrastructural sectors expose some of the crisis.

Afghanistan has only a combined approximately 100 private and public hospitals for a nation of 40 million people, a meager amount. The nation’s health system is run through a network of 2,200 “health facilities,” about 200 of which appear to be primary health clinics; it is not clear how large the other facilities are. These 2,200 facilities are run through an institution called Sehatmandi which is administered by the World Bank through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Fund and the Afghan Ministry of Public Health. It is funded through the World Bank, the European Union, Canada and Global Financing Facilities.

When the Taliban came to power in the period of August 17–18, these funding institutions cut off money. On September 30, Alexander Matheou, the Asia Pacific director of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies stated that “over 2,000 health facilities have closed.” He added that more than 20,000 health workers in the country were no longer working or were working without being paid; more than 7,000 of them are women. “People might agree to work without salaries for a few more weeks,” Matheou stated. “But once medicines run out totally, if you can’t switch on the lights, if you’ve got nothing to offer somebody who comes to your clinic, then they’ll shut the doors.”

Under intense pressure, on September 20, the Global Fund and the United Nations Development Fund signed an agreement to supply $15 million to the 2,200 health facilities. This is a drop in the bucket.

International donors pledged in October $1.2 billion to Afghanistan. But there are three roadblocks: 1) it is not clear how much of the pledged money will be really delivered; 2) it takes sometimes months for the money to get into the system; and 3) above all, the clinics are greatly inadequate, Afghanistan needs hundreds of new advanced hospitals, tens of thousands of skilled doctors and nurses, and so forth.

In the meantime, COVID is looming. Nine of Afghanistan’s 37 COVID hospitals have closed. Afghanistan has put a reported only 2.2 million COVID jabs into people; it has 1.2 million doses of vaccine waiting to be distributed, that haven’t been. They will expire by the end of the year.

This is pure and simple genocide.

As for water, Afghanistan has an annual surface water runoff water volume of 57,000 million cubic meters per year, which comes out to approximately 1,425 cubic meters/year per capita. This is insufficient, but would be a start. However, Afghanistan does not have an adequate water basin catchment system, and precipitation is not evenly distributed geographically.

In 2016, India spent $275 million to complete what is now called the “Afghan-India Friendship Dam” in Herat province on the Hari River. It will irrigate 75,000 hectares of land. But otherwise, new dam construction and broader water management hardly exists.

The U.S. is blocking more than $9 billion in Afghanistan’s central bank that belong to the Afghan people. The World Bank, IMF, and EU are blocking hundreds of millions more. (See the Schiller Institute’s demand for release of the Afghans’ funds at this link.)

These more than $10 billion, were they deposited in a fund under sovereign Afghan control, could be used to build hospitals, administer the COVID-19 vaccine; begin emergency food and water distribution; make down payments on dams and water management projects; build power stations, etc. Immediate building in Afghanistan must start.


World Food Program’s Beasley in Haiti: ‘We’ve Got to Help These People’

Sept. 18 (EIRNS)–The Executive Director of the World Food Program’s David Beasley has been in Haiti for several days to work with aid teams and publicize the need to take action. On Sept. 16, he sent a video tweet from Maniche, showing how “house, after house, after house, after house in Maniche was completely destroyed… you can see how bad it is, and we’ve got to help these people.” There have been four weeks of clean-up, but there is destruction all over the place. He wrote, “This is why these families need our support to recover and rebuild.” On Sept. 17, he visited a cooked-meals operation run by the World Central Kitchen.


Drumbeat Grows for Release of Afghan Funds As Economy Falters

Drumbeat Grows for Release of Afghan Funds As Economy Falters

As Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Investment warned on September 13 that the country would plunge into an economic crisis unless frozen international reserves were released by the U.S. Treasury, there is a growing cascade of voices calling on the U.S. to do just that. These private sector representatives charged that the U.S. Treasury’s freezing of reserves is a violation of humanitarian law and reported that since the reserves were frozen, all transactions between Afghan and international banks have been halted.

Unless this situation is reversed, the country won’t avoid a deep recession, the representatives warned, according to TOLO News. “We call on the United States and the world to solve the issue with the frozen assets, because that money belongs to the people of Afghanistan. If you have political issues with the government or some people, you should not take people’s money hostage,” ACCI acting director Yunus Mohmand said. A fellow member of the ACCI, Khan Jan Alokozay, said that most of the factories are facing serious financial shortages and raw materials because they are unable to withdraw money, adding that in the last month over one million laborers have not been paid.

In addition, Afghanistan’s Health Minister, Wahid Majrooh, who had stayed on from the previous government, said that the Afghan health system is teetering on the edge of collapse, “We are losing personnel, we are losing lives, and the morale and momentum we had,” Majrooh said.  “The crisis is very, very extensive.”

Pressure is growing on the U.S.  to release the funds. On September 15th, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijjan said that the U.S. should release those Afghan Government assets which they have been holding in abeyance as the new Afghan government was in the process of formation. Zhao was replying to a question regarding the Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen’s call for release of the funds. “Shaheen is right,” Zhao said. “The assets belong to Afghanistan and should be spent for the Afghan people. The U.S. should not freeze them without justification. The U.S. should face up to the legitimate demand of Afghanistan, abandon pressures and sanctions, and stop creating obstacles to the economy, livelihood and peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan.”

One can also expect a clear statement from the upcoming SCO meeting as both Russia and China have indicated that the U.S. which is responsible for the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan have got to take the primary responsibility for resolving the crisis. A first step in that direction would be releasing the funds to the present interim government before it is too late.


UN Aid Conference Insists, Act Now, or Afghanistan “Will Truly Enter the Abyss”

Sept. 14, 2021 (EIRNS)—The Sept. 13, United Nations conference in Geneva on aid to Afghanistan succeeded in raising $1.1 billion, beyond the original target of $606 million. But given the dramatic reports by speakers on the dire humanitarian crisis and the urgent need for food and medicine to avert imminent starvation of tens of millions of people, the $1.1 billion won’t suffice. The situation is so fragile that 1 million children are at immediate risk of starvation if their immediate needs are not met, the New York Times reported Sept. 13. “At least 10 million children depend on humanitarian aid just to survive,” UNICEF’s executive director Henrietta H. Fore told the Times*. The World Food Program (WFP) estimates that 40% of Afghanistan’s crop has been lost this year, and the prices of basic food items are soaring. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is taking steps to help farmers so that they don’t miss the upcoming winter wheat planting season, and to keep life-sustaining farm animals alive, but the situation has been complicated by a severe drought. Over half of an average Afghan’s daily caloric intake comes from wheat, most of which is domestically grown, FAO director general Qu Dongyu, told the meeting.

World Food Program director David Beasley starkly warned that “14 million people—1 in 3—are marching to the brink of starvation…. On top of that, you have 14 million people in IPC2”—a category of acute food insecurity—“that are knocking on the same door, so if we’re not very careful, we could truly enter the abyss and see catastrophic conditions, worse than what we see now.” WFP estimates that 40% of Afghanistan’s crops have been lost for this year; the price of wheat rose by 25%, and the price of flour has doubled at local markets. Beasley stressed that a major concern is that 4 million people live in hard-to-reach areas, for whom, if food isn’t prepositioned before winter, “we will face a catastrophe. The time is now. We can’t wait six months. We need the funds immediately so we can move the supplies.”

Like other speakers, Beasley also warned, “if we’re not careful, and we’re not strategic, we could face mass migration, destabilization in the region, and for certain starvation for millions of Afghan people.” Beasley’s full remarks can be found here.

Making the same point, Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s permanent representative to the Geneva UN office, stressed that “Kabul’s traditional Western sponsors must provide active help to the country’s population to reduce or stop migration flows,” according to TASS.


Andrei Kortunov Warns Afghanistan Is on “Life Support;” No Time for Delay!

Sept. 14, 2021 (EIRNS)—In an interview with TASS published Sept. 13, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council Andrey Kortunov warned that, due to both U.S. and UN sanctions, Afghanistan faces the threat of famine. The country is now “on life support,” he said, because it depends entirely on assistance from international development institutes, the UN, the EU, and the U.S. In fact, David Beasley, director of the World Food Program, reported during yesterday’s UN conference in Geneva on aid to Afghanistan that 40% of its GDP comes from foreign aid, and 75% of its public spending from international funding. Kortunov admonished that, if the Taliban coming to power means there will be more sanctions placed on the country, it could jeopardize food deliveries. He told TASS that it will take an estimated $1 billion a month, minimally, to maintain basic social institutions and avoid hunger in certain regions—that is, $12 billion yearly.

Kortunov also highlighted the issue of who will control distribution of humanitarian and food assistance to Afghanistan. Take the case of Syria, he said, where the West claims that President Bashar al-Assad can’t be trusted to handle this task, so it’s left in the hands of international agencies and aid groups. “It is not to be ruled out that the same position will be taken in respect of the Taliban,” Kortunov said, explaining it would lead to a situation where the international community “will be ready to provide food assistance but on the condition that unimpeded access will be granted to the areas in need,” and the Taliban excluded from any decision-making as to whom aid should be delivered. In the Syrian case, Western arguments are simply a pretext for curtailing Syrian sovereignty under the guise of “humanitarian” protection. How this plays out in Afghanistan—a more complex situation—remains to be seen. The TASS article can be found here.


WHO Aid Shipments Arriving in Afghanistan

WHO Aid Shipments Arriving in Afghanistan

Sept. 9, 2021 (EIRNS)–On Monday, Sept. 6, a World Food Program plane carrying WHO essential medicines and supplies landed in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. This was the first of three such planned cargo deliveries. The WFP’s executive director retweeted the WHO information that the 53-metric-ton shipment contained 780 medical kits, and 50 kits to treat severe acute malnutrition in children. WHO teams were on the ground, ready to swiftly deliver the supplies to health facilities most in need. The WHO tweeted photographs of the plane and cargo.

On Monday, Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis said, from Kabul, that aid agencies, including the Red Cross, Red Crescent, Doctors without Borders, and the AHO, say they are running out of food and medicine. “WHO has said that 90 percent of their clinics will close imminently.” She said that WHO had 2,300 health clinics spread across the country, operating last year, treating millions of people.


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