War and hunger
The following is a script of « War and Hunger » which aired on Nov. 30, 2014. Scott Pelley is the correspondent. Nicole Young and Katie Kerbstat, producers.
While we’re giving thanks for the feast this weekend let’s not leave out what may be one of the best ideas that America ever had. It’s called the World Food Programme the emergency first responder to hunger anywhere on the globe. The United Nations launched WFP in 1961 at the urging of the United States. government pays the biggest part of the bill as the World Food Programme feeds 80 million people a year. Its greatest challenges come when it confronts war and hunger. And that’s what’s happening today in Syria where you will find heroes of the World Food Programme saving the most vulnerable people in what looked to us like the edge of oblivion.
The map said, « no man’s land. » We plowed the border of Jordan and Syria where the Jordanian military told us we would find war refugees. But considering the wasteland it seemed more likely the map was right who could survive here?
But after several hours we found them, pouring over the land like a flash flood. With three hundred miles behind them, these Syrian families made their final steps through a war that nearly killed them and a desert that could have finished the job. Watch a moment and listen.
Scott Pelley: This berm marks the border between Syria and Jordan. The refugees that we ran into were coming across the top of the berm and turning themselves in to the safety of Jordanian border officers here. More than a million have crossed into Jordan so far during the three year civil war in Syria.
They had been farmers, shopkeepers, adidas superstar office workers. Now they shared one occupation: saving the children with matted hair and faces covered in ten days of misery. We noticed the little ones around Halima. Turns out she’s the mother of nine.
Scott Pelley: Why did you come?
« There’s bombing all around us, » she said, « I’m afraid for my children. But I don’t know what will become of us now. »
Scott Pelley: You don’t know what’s coming next but you know this must be better than where you came from?
She had taken five of her children. Her husband took four by another route. And they hope to find one another. Halima said they managed to save everyone in her family. But as for the fate of others in her town no translation was needed.
Andrew Harper: This is happening every day. Every day we are getting hundreds of people, sometimes up to a thousand people, fleeing the violence, fleeing the deprivation in Syria and coming across into Jordan.
Andrew Harper is in charge in Jordan for the United Nations high commissioner for refugees.
Scott Pelley: What kind of shape are they in when they come at the end of this journey?
Andrew Harper: It’s horrific. We’re seeing children coming across now without any shoes. Often they’ve only got one pair of clothes, some of them are just wearing their pajamas because, when their places were bombed, adidas obuv dámska they had nothing to grab to leave. camp. There was room for everyone on the trucks but no mother would take that chance. They pressed their children in first. Parents had sacrificed all they had to see this moment. And a long dead emotion began to stir. It felt like hope.
Scott Pelley: You know, this war’s been going on for three years. Why are these people still coming now?
Andrew Harper: Because it’s getting worse. I think now more than ever there is absolutely no hope for the future at the moment in Syria.
Part of what has stolen hope inside Syria is hunger. Starvation is a weapon in the war that began as an uprising against the dictator Bashar al Assad. These words read, « kneel or starve. » Signed Assad’s soldiers. All sides are laying siege to communities and cutting off the food. food convoy broke through. The people had eaten the dogs and the cats and were running low on leaves and grass. This girl eventually starved to death, five miles or so from a supermarket.
Ertharin Cousin: Are we willing to lose a generation of children to hunger? To lack of access to medicines? To lack of access to water while we wait until the fighting stops? No. We can’t.
Ertharin Cousin is executive director of the World Food Programme. She’s a former food industry executive from Chicago. donates more than a third of the four billion dollar annual budget.
Ertharin Cousin: The operation in Syria is one of the largest that we have ever operated in WFP. We have over 3,000 trucks supporting 45,000 metric tons of food delivered every month inside Syria.
Scott Pelley: All of that and your people are getting shot at.
Ertharin Cousin: All of that and people are getting shot at. It’s a war zone. It’s a conflict zone. The world doesn’t stop. The war doesn’t stop. The conflict doesn’t end because people need to eat.
The World Food Programme estimates that more than six million Syrians do not know where their next meal is coming from.
Matthew Hollingworth: These are areas where people have nothing. They really do have nothing.
Matthew Hollingworth heads the World Food Programme mission inside Syria. In February, he led an armored column into the city of Homs, which had been sealed off by the dictatorship for 600 days.
Matthew Hollingworth: People were skin and bones. I could lift a grown man because he’d got to about 40 kilos.