The UN World Food Programme (http://www.wfp.org/index.asp?section=2″WFP) has delivered more than 34,000 metric tonnes of food into Afghanistan during the first 10 days of December, more than it did during the entire month of October, a spokesman for the agency in Islamabad said.“WFP is continuing to be as aggressive as possible in delivering food throughout Afghanistan, but especially to those who live in the highly food-insecure areas of central and north-eastern Afghanistan,” spokesman Jordan Dey said. “We are using rail, trucks, barges and planes from five countries, utilizing six supply routes. We are serving 6 million hungry people – more than a quarter of the total Afghan population.”The spokesman said the agency currently had international staff in Kabul, Herat and Faizabad, and was hoping to re-establish an international permanent presence in Kandahar as soon as security permitted.Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was gearing up for a possible return of Afghan refugees from various parts of the region.“There are currently some four million Afghan refugees in the region and even if a quarter of them were to return soon, that would be one million people who would be returning to a massively destroyed country,” said UNHCR spokesman Fatoumata Kaba.The number of Afghans heading for Pakistan was going down, the spokesman noted, while return movements were on the rise. About 1,500 persons crossed back into Afghanistan on Monday, the single largest return movement in one day, until yesterday, when 1,800 persons crossed the border into Afghanistan. “They are believed to be heading for Kandahar, Herat, Ghazni, Zabul, and Kabul,” the spokesman said.The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today also warned that in a worst-case scenario, some 100,000 children might die in the coming six months unless enough emergency relief aid reaches them. “By ‘worst case,’ we assume limited humanitarian access and increased mortality rates, linked to preventable diseases and exacerbated by high rates of malnutrition,” spokesman Chulho Hyun said. read more

by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, The Associated Press Posted Mar 23, 2015 10:03 pm MDT CDC reports 11.4 million fewer uninsured since 2010, when Obama signed health overhaul WASHINGTON – The number of uninsured U.S. residents fell by more than 11 million since President Barack Obama signed the health care overhaul five years ago, according to a pair of reports Tuesday from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Although that still would leave about 37 million people uninsured, it’s the lowest level measured in more than 15 years.The most dramatic change took place in comparing 2013 with the first nine months of 2014. As the health care law’s major coverage expansion was taking effect, the number of uninsured people fell by 7.6 million over that time.That’s “much bigger than can possibly be explained by the economy,” said Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “The vast majority has to be due to the Affordable Care Act.”Monday was the law’s fifth anniversary, and supporters and detractors again clashed over its impact.Obama says the law in many ways is “working even better than anticipated.”House Speaker John Boehner says it amounts to a “legacy of broken promises.”The health care law offers subsidized private coverage to people who don’t have access to it on the job, as well as an expanded version of Medicaid geared to low-income adults, in states accepting it.The White House says 16 million people have gained health insurance, a considerably higher estimate than Tuesday’s report from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The White House includes results from the law’s second signup season, stretching into this year.The CDC reports compared the first nine months of 2014 with annual statistics going back as far as 1997, from the National Health Interview Survey. Among the highlights:— The number of uninsured dropped from 48.6 million in 2010 to 37.2 million for the period from Jan.-Sept. last year. That amounted to 11.4 million fewer uninsured since the signing of the health care law.— In 2014, about 27 million people said they had been without coverage for more than a year.— Some 6.8 million people were covered through the health care law’s new insurance markets during July-Sept. of 2014.— The most significant coverage gains last year came among adults ages 18-64. Nearly 40 million were uninsured in 2013. But that dropped to 32.6 million in the first nine months of 2014.— States that moved forward with the law’s Medicaid expansion saw a bigger decline in the share of their residents uninsured.The main question hanging over the law now is a Supreme Court case in which opponents argue that its subsidies are illegal in most states. They contend that the exact wording of the law only allows subsidized coverage in states that have set up their own insurance markets. Most have not done so, relying instead on the federal HealthCare.gov.The administration counters that the context of the law makes it clear the purpose was to expand coverage in every state. A decision is expected to be announced by late June. FILE – In this March 23, 2010, file photo, President Barack Obama signs the health care bill in the East Room of the White House in Washington. A couple of government reports say the number of uninsured U.S. residents fell by more than 11 million since Obama signed the health care overhaul five years ago. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more