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Khaled Mansour, World Food Programme
Khaled Mansour, World Food Programme
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: KHALED MANSOUR WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME, ISLAMABAD OCTOBER 7TH, 2001

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: In his big speech this week the Prime Minister laid as much emphasis on the need to mount a humanitarian campaign in the region, or almost, as he did on the military build up and President, for instance, has announced more than $300 million aid for those who he calls those poor folks in Afghanistan. The organisation trying to get it all to the people, the people who really need it is the World Food Programme and Khaled Mansour is their man out there in Pakistan. What is the progress in terms of delivery of food over the past week, has it resumed to some extent to previous levels?

KHALED MANSOUR: We indeed resumed food deliveries into Afghanistan, we are approaching the country from all possible directions, from Turkmenistan from Tajikistan, and also from Pakistan. Now we think inside Afghanistan we are reaching over 1.7 million people, that might seem a large figure but even before the current crisis we were working with four million Afghans who are dependent on food aid. I used to visit the country once or twice a month and last time a couple of months ago I interviewed families eating grass, eating locusts, I interviewed families walking for weeks just scavenging for bread crumbs or families that sold their daughters as young as nine years old into marriage so the other children can survive.

DAVID FROST: And how many Afghans today would you say are, what we would classify as starving?

KHALED MANSOUR: Well we are trying to help about six million Afghans inside the country, many of them are dependent on the daily food handouts or other operations we are running into the country. The fear is that come mid-November, as your previous guest said, many parts in the country will be inaccessible, we believe that up to half a million people that will be inaccessible during the winter months after mid-November and we will need to have air drops to them so they can survive.

DAVID FROST: And in terms of it reaching the people it's aimed for, once that food gets into Afghanistan is it for instance commandeered by the Taliban for themselves or does it get to the people who need it?

KHALED MANSOUR: So far there has been no looting of food convoys from the World Food Programme into Afghanistan, it didn't happen before we hope it will not happen in the future but how do we ensure that it will get to people, to the women, to the widows, to the children and to the civilians who are meant to receive it. Our local aid workers are still on the ground, international non-governmental organisations are still working there with the local staff, we are working together to ensure - to a reasonable extent of course under the circumstances - that the food will get to those people who need it.

DAVID FROST: Khaled thank you very much for joining us and good luck with that vital work.

KHALED MANSOUR: Thank you.

END


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