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Letter on sale of food aid as sign of distress, not excess, by Barbara Reed and Jean-Pierre Habicht

Dear Editors,

I would like to comment on the Article India, 'The Silent Emergency' published in the June 1998 edition of Field Exchange.

I share the author's concerns about the nutritional situation among the poorest of the poor in India. As stated in the article, in spite of economic development and notable advances in agricultural production, the situation seems very grave. The underlying causes may be inequitable distribution of, and access to resources within the country and at household level. But, the widespread malnutrition, which constitutes one of the highest rates in Asia, is also aggravated by poverty and high population density.

From the authors viewpoint, it appears that the International Community response should be to provide aid to combat this chronic problem. However, as far as I can see the answer to this 'silent emergency' is not aid but strong advocacy by the International Community on behalf of the have-nots with the Governments of India.

India is one the developing countries gradually phasing out of dependency on external aid - especially food aid.

Yours etc.
Rita Bhatia
Nutritionist, UNHCR

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Rita Bhatia (1999). Letter on sale of food aid as sign of distress, not excess, by Barbara Reed and Jean-Pierre Habicht. Field Exchange 6, February 1999. p20. www.ennonline.net/fex/6/lettersrita