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"...I Didn't Have Lunch Today"

From an editorial in today's New York Times:

The foremost challenge now is to ensure that the money pledged in the glow of the media spotlight gets to the people who need it. That is the job of the United Nations, which has a chance to redeem itself after the oil-for-food scandal. It must make sure that the money is not diverted into the hands of corrupt government officials or used as a political weapon by armies waging counterinsurgency campaigns in some of the most stricken areas.

Right now in Indonesia, cartons of food, water and medical supplies are stacking up in airports, not getting to the villages that were hit the hardest. Part of the problem is the Indonesian military. Complaints have already arisen about soldiers siphoning off supplies for their relatives and friends. But Indonesian government officials bear some blame. Take, for example, the remarkably callous dismissal of reports of hungry families in leveled towns made by Alwi Shihab, the country's senior disaster response coordinator: "I can guarantee you there is no starvation, except for me, because I didn't have lunch today."


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