Emergency Humanitarian Aid Dropped Over Afghanistan
The aircraft left Afghan airspace after completing the drops and returned to Ramstein, according to Pentagon officials.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, said Monday’s renewed wave of bombings is being accompanied by a second airdrop of supplies.
American military officials at the Ramstein base confirmed that during the first drop, 37,000 packages of meatless Humanitarian Daily Rations (HDR) were scattered over southern and eastern Afghanistan.
The packages, bright yellow for easy visibility, were dropped from the planes at a high altitude. Wrapped in heavy plastic, they were equipped with a wing-like device to ensure light descent to the ground. This method of “floating” the packages to the ground allows for wide distribution and reduces the possibility of large amounts of relief falling into the wrong hands.
The two-pound HDR packages, which contain enough nutrients for an adult for a full day, are “culturally neutral”, officials say — meaning that they can be eaten by members of all religions. They include rice, vegetables and fruit, and are free of animal products, such as pork.
The packs contained a written message, “A food gift from the people of the United States,” in English, French, and Spanish.
The aid packages are the first part of a $320 million humanitarian effort for displaced Afghan refugees announced by President Bush last Thursday.
“This is our way of saying that, while we firmly and strongly oppose the Taliban regime, we are friends of the Afghan people,” President Bush said. “We will make sure that not only the folks in Afghanistan who need help get help, but we will help those who have fled to neighboring countries to get help as well.”
The Pentagon confirmed the first airdrop was made nine hours after U.S. and British forces first bombed targets of Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban.