N5 - called Rations Cue material: In the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, today (Monday) is one of the most important days of the week for more than 100,000 refugees and other who depend on the Red Cross for food.
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Background: N5 - called Rations Cue material: In the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, today (Monday) is one of the most important days of the week for more than 100,000 refugees and other who depend on the Red Cross for food. Mondays and Fridays are when the survival rations are distributed in the refugee camps. Unless help comes soon, today's (Monday's) ration will be the last foreseeable, because the Red Cross has run out of supplies. At that, today's ration will be meagre indeed as we hear in this report from our Correspondent in Managua Ronald Robson.
RR: Here, for and average family of eight, "normal" emergency rations for one week, are supposed to be eight pounds of rice, eight pounds of beans, two litres of cooking oil, and four pounds of sugar. For more than three weeks some 7000 refugees at one camp I've visited have had to make do with just HALF of that after spending the first three days with no rations at all. This last out until help comes will be halved again to one quarter of what's deemed necessary.
These facts I was given by camp officials -- but one refugee told me that for her family of eighteen she's been receiving six pounds of rice and some beans and sugar for every four days, although the men and children of the family were able to obtain some more food by working at various tasks in the camp. One Red Cross official told me it was estimated that a quarter of a million people in and around Managua relied on the Red Cross for food. I was shown what few supplies remained for the whole camp. The rice had come from America -- and it's to America that the hungry look for help now. The President of the local Red Cross says that supplies are held up because of lack of aircraft to being them into Nicaragua./ I have been assured by the American Embassy here that an urgent request for help has been sent to Washington for aircraft to shift supplies of the CARE organisation from Guatemala and Costa Rica. A reply is expected soon. Enough carrying capacity provided quickly enough might assure a resumption of ration distribution by Friday. Assessing the situation, I'm haunted by memories from elsewhere of hungry people fighting like animals even over a few handfuls of flour spilled on the ground. It's something one would wish never to see again.