Senior Regional Communications Officer - East Africa
KABUL –The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is reducing food assistance to millions of Afghans and focusing remaining resources on helping the most vulnerable in areas with the highest levels of food insecurity due to a shortage of funds.
“We want to assure our beneficiaries in Afghanistan that we are working hard to raise the funds needed to restart these activities as soon as we can,” said WFP Deputy Country Director Bradley Guerrant.
Starting this month, WFP is cutting school meals, food-for-training activities and food-for-work programmes in about half of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. WFP hopes to resume these activities in the near future if funding becomes available.
WFP, which is 100 percent voluntarily funded, had originally planned to feed more than 7 million people in Afghanistan in 2011, but a shortage of donor funds means the agency will now only reach about 3.8 million people this year.
Although many countries have contributed generously to its multi-year operation, WFP would require an additional $220 million to continue its work in Afghanistan at the level originally planned.
Scaling down longer-term recovery programmes that seek to bolster food security will allow WFP to use its limited available resources to continue providing lifesaving food assistance to the neediest and most vulnerable Afghans – especially women and children.
WFP will make every effort to continue providing food assistance to those affected by conflict and natural disaster. WFP will continue providing specialized nutritional support to mothers and children, as well as food assistance to tuberculosis patients and their families.
“We have had to make some very difficult decisions about how to refocus our work in
Afghanistan because of the funding shortage,” said Guerrant. “As a neutral humanitarian agency, we have to take an impartial, needs-based approach rooted in humanitarian principles, to ensure support for those who need it most. WFP targets its food assistance based on food insecurity data from the 2007-2008 National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment, the latest comprehensive survey available. WFP is working closely with its partners in Afghanistan, with donors and with the international community to highlight this critical resource shortfall and to continue advocating for support for food assistance programmes to assist those affected by food insecurity, conflict and natural disasters in Afghanistan.
For Further Information: Assadullah Azhari, WFP/Kabul, Mob. +93-797-662-190