Malnutrition And Food Aid Programs: A Case Study From Guatemala Page: 57
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(1976) study of the disaster relief effort in the Sahel, Africa,
(which included PL-480 aid) four major criticisms were leveled:
1. The distribution of food and supplies generally takes
place well after the problem has subsided. That is
to say, when the food does arrive, it is usually too
late. Also, there is the problem of insufficient
quantities and unacceptable foodstuffs.
2. Because there is generally a lack of coordination and
organization of the relief effort by numerous groups
there results an overlapping of programs which become
too difficult to manage.
3. Because of delays and misunderstandings (caused by
mismanagement and competition), much of the food
aid ends up in the black market with the result
4. These problems are fi,-ther compounded by the fact
that the relief programs, being foreign-based (and
uncoordinated), are externally controlled and, thus
disregard the specific recipient's historical,
cultural and present socioeconomic and political
Many of these problems are inherent to disaster situations due to
their chaotic nature. However, there are ethnograpthic examples of
black marketing and profiteering associated with regular or chronic
food aid programs, for instance. Though probably more manageable at
the regional and national level, these problems are unavoidable at
the local level. The Sahel case merely points out the need for inter-
national cooperation and co-dialogue between the international
community and the recipient nation and to the need for better manage-
ment of food distribution systems rather than to the need to abandon
attempts at disaster relief.
Inappropriate Food Aid
Probably the most frequent criticism of food aid deals with its
insensitivity to local food habits; this resulting from the fact that
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Rodeheaver, Daniel Gilbert, 1954-; Bates, Frederick L. & Murphy, Arthur D. Malnutrition And Food Aid Programs: A Case Study From Guatemala, report, May 1982; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84342/m1/70/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.