thanx for nuthin'

kirsten neilsen kirsten at
Mon Apr 12 20:36:00 PDT 1999

looks like it's genuine. from alertnet site. i clicked through from reuters site, then clicked

Relief - Latest on flights and aid.


RTRS-Kosovo refugees spurn U.S. rations as inedible By Matt Spetalnick

KUKES, Albania, April 11 (Reuters) - Kosovo refugees are throwing away U.S.-donated humanitarian rations by the thousands and have even burned some to keep warm, complaining that the food is inedible and has made people sick.

Piles of unopened packages -- each labelled "A Food Gift from the People of the United States of America" -- litter the grounds of makeshift camps housing many of the 150,000 ethnic Albanians who have poured across the border in recent weeks.

"We know the Americans want to help, but the food is just no good," said18-year-old Arolelina Ajazi.

A U.S. Defence Department spokesman had trumpeted the meatless, 2,200-calorie meals as enough to feed one refugee for a full day and "suitable for all faiths".

Desperate refugees fought each other for the packages, officially known as Humanitarian Daily Rations, when they were first distributed off the backs of trucks several days ago.

But some later said the meals -- which include items such as three-bean casserole, legume stew and vegetarian goulash which are foreign to their normal diet -- made their children vomit.

"We don't eat it because the children get a fever and throw up and are going to be poisoned," said Selvie Gashi, 27.

Many of the packages were discarded in fetid trenches and streams filled with garbage and excrement.

Several families were seen huddling around campfires using boxes of rations to help fuel the flames.

The refugees, who were expelled from Yugoslavia in a Serb crackdown following the launching of a NATO bombing campaign, are used to a diet based on potatoes, rice and beans.

Medical experts said similar problems were reported during a humanitarian mission in Somalia, where U.S. military rations were too rich for the local population.

Officials of the World Food Programme, which has handed out 80,000 of the U.S. rations, were unaware of any complaints but acknowledged that the food might have caused stomach problems.

"Actually, I have heard that refugees prefer the French humanitarian rations," said Gemmo Lodesani, head of the World Food Programme mission in Kukes.

He contended, however, that even the parts of the rations such as cookies and crackers which the refugees appeared to have accepted had provided enough nutrition to save lives.

U.S. officials say the rations, a civilian version of military ready-to-eat meals, are suitable for all religions. Most of the refugees are Moslems.

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