In what has been called the largest gastrointestinal rescue effort in history, the United Nations allocated $1.2 billion in antacid relief yesterday for the indigestion-wracked nation of America.

Operation Soothe and Coat

"There is great suffering in America, where every day people face the terrible pain of stomach upset, heartburn, and problem gas," a statement released by the General Assembly read. "Most members of the global community, who do not have to live with the constant threat of massive overeating as Americans do, cannot even imagine what it is like. We can turn a blind eye no longer."

Dubbed "Operation Soothe and Coat," the massive C-130 airlift is expected to provide millions of American indigestion sufferers with cartons of precious, life-giving antacids by week's end. Much of the $1.2 billion will also go toward emergency helicopter and truck mobilization, distributing alkalides to a network of temporary stomach trouble "crisis centers" set up across the American countryside.

"Help is on the way," said Colonel Obiabwe Buna*!dab, wing commander of the Kenyan delegation to the international airlift operation. He said that although he had never been to America, he had seen much U.S. television and understood how much pain indigestion was causing the nation. "All men are brothers," Buna*!dab added.

U.N. officials say the decision is a response to a recent study ranking the U.S. first in bloating and excess gas build-up, and fourth and second, respectively, in lower abdominal pain and diarrhea.

"Statistics show many Americans 'pay for it later' after a hot, spicy meal. It is shameful that in this day and age the Americans must go without the gas-absorbing medications they need," one volunteer remarked. "We just want to do whatever we can to help them get better—one fizzy little pellet at a time."

The organizational tasks facing the U.N. relief task force are daunting. Workers from every corner of the globe have been called in for special duty, mobilizing the relief effort and distributing the antacids as efficiently as possible.

"The key here is speed," said Chile's Salvador Aguilera, co-chair of the operation. "These people don't just need relief, they need quick relief. They need relief with a capital 'R.' They need to ease the pain caused by heartburn and stomach upset immediately. Otherwise, they may have trouble sleeping. This can lead to additional problems, particularly if they have a big presentation at the office the next day."

According to experts, it is not known how many people in America suffer from indigestion, partly because the number of unreported cases far outweighs the number that receive medical care.

"The actual number of Americans with digestion-related discomfort—particularly among the millions whose dietary staples include donuts, canned meat products and microwaveables—is staggering, probably higher than in all other industrialized nations combined," said Mtume Mofeisi, president of AfriCares, a Rwanda-based organization dedicated to helping the overfed throughout the First World.

"Thank God for the U.N.," said indigestion sufferer Bob Halloran, of Des Moines, IA. "I was terrified that no one would hear my cries. But at last, the pain is gone. Now I have no need to fear that my illness may result in decreased productivity at work."

Halloran received a case of Mylanta Extra-Strength through Operation Soothe and Coat. "My doctor said Mylanta," he added.

Despite the success of the relief effort thus far, U.N. task force workers stress that indigestion is only one of many problems facing America.

"Many of the Americans we've been trying to help are badly undersupplied with convenient snack food options," said Carlos Santiago of Honduras, speaking from the U.N. relief camp based near Rochester, NY. "Lower back pain also continues to be a problem. And every day, we see thousands who have kitchen remodeling and television repair needs we are simply not equipped to address."