Kabul – The World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a new contribution of £10 million (US$13.1 million) from the Government of the United Kingdom to provide vital food assistance for people affected by drought in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is currently facing a severe drought that has affected 20 out of the country’s 34 provinces. UK funding will ensure that immediate food assistance reaches families in need in five of the worst-hit provinces.
“The UK continues to stand by the government of Afghanistan and we have taken decisive action to step in early before the worst of the drought strikes to help prevent needless pain and suffering,” said Penny Mordaunt, UK International Development Secretary. “We call on other countries to join this international effort to support some of the world’s most vulnerable people during what will be immensely difficult times.”
WFP has been supporting the most vulnerable families in affected areas since the first signs of the impact of the drought emerged in late 2017. Now that larger numbers of people are starting to require urgent assistance, WFP is ramping up its response in August and September in the five worst-affected provinces: Badghis, Ghor, Herat, Faryab and Jawzjan.
“Needs are peaking earlier than expected in five of the twenty drought-affected provinces. To help communities and reduce migration to cities, WFP is providing immediate food assistance to 441,000 people over two months,” said Zlatan Milisic, WFP’s Country Director in Afghanistan. “This generous contribution from the UK will enable WFP to quickly assist hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people, including women and children”.
By October, WFP plans to expand its response to reach 1.4 million people in the twenty affected provinces and support women, men, girls and boys through the critical period to next year’s harvest. UK funding will also contribute to this assistance.
WFP is working with the Government of Afghanistan and partners to conduct a nationwide Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) to determine the full extent of the crisis and further refine the targeting of affected people, and exploring the possibility of utilizing wheat from the Government’s Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) for a comprehensive drought response. This wheat would be milled, fortified and distributed to drought-affected families, complemented by other food commodities including fortified vegetable oil, pulses, iodized salt and specialised nutritious foods for children under the age of five.
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The United Nations World Food Programme - saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.
WFP has been working in Afghanistan since 1963 with the aim of helping Afghans build a hunger-free future for themselves and their country. WFP food is distributed on the basis of need, without regard for ethnicity, religion or political affiliation.
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Wahidullah Amani, WFP/Kabul, Mob. +93706004884