Afghanistan: WFP Food Assistance Helps Families Get Through Rough Winter In Kabul

In a make-shift tent campsite inside Kabul city, sits Sarake Panj Proja Tamani, an informal settlement that serves as home to hundreds of the poorest of the poor. The inhabitants live in extremely harsh conditions: inhabiting mud houses covered with fabric sewn together, with dirt floors, without running water, in an open area leaving them exposed to Afghanistan’s brutal winter.

KABUL - The informal settlement in Sarak Panj Proja Tamani is just one of around 50 settlements in Kabul, housing anywhere from a few families to over 6,000 people. The settlements, like the families who live in them, are fluid: some exist for just weeks as displaced people are put in temporary shelters before moving to more permanent homes; others have been around for over a decade. But most Kabul Informal Settlements (KIS) share some similarities: poor access to clean drinking and household water, poor hygiene and sanitation.

Ghulam Rabani, 55 years old, is originally from Kabul and lives in the Sarake Panj Proja Tamani informal site. He lost one of his legs during the 1993 war in Kabul. He is a cobbler and has five children, whom he struggles to support. “In order to support my family,” he says, “I work as a cobbler, repairing and polishing shoes for US$ 2 to $3 a day.” Considering his low income and the large size of his family, WFP provided him with food assistance during the harsh winter. ‘‘In winter, a cobbler can’t earn enough to feed his family," he adds. "Thanks to this help, we'll keep hunger at bay during the winter.’’

line of people in refugee camp

Food distribution at a KIS site.
Photo: WFP/Habib Rahman

Another resident of the informal camp, Sultan Jan, 48 years old, says, “I am a nomad (kuchi). We have a family of nine members and have been living in this camp for more than seven years. We have a painful life. I am the only one to work as a labourer at the market and can only make 150 Afghanis (less than US$ 3) per day, which is not enough to feed my family. I am very happy to receive this food assistance; my five kids will have biscuits to eat when there is no bread at home, thanks to WFP”.

Jon Philip and Claude Jibidar on site

Jon Philp, Ambassador of Australia (centre) and WFP Afghanistan Country Director, Claude Jibidar, visit WFP emergency food distributions in one of the informal settlements in Kabul.

Photo: WFP/Habib Rahman

In partnership with French-based NGO, ACTED, WFP distributed a two-month ration of emergency food assistance to 70 families in Sarake Panj Proja Tamani as winter food assistance.

In February, Australian Ambassador Jon Philp, Head of Australian Development in Afghanistan, Paul Lehmann, and First Secretary Emma Leahey from the Australian Embassy in Kabul, paid a visit to one of the Kabul Informal Settlements with WFP Representative and Country Director,Claude Jibidar,  where they were briefed on WFP’s emergency food assistance in part supported by Australian aid.

“We came here today and witnessed first-hand not only the harsh conditions under which many vulnerable families are living,but also the very real impact WFP food assistance has on the lives of thousands of Afghans. It is because of our strong partnerships with all donors, including the Government of Australia, that WFP is able to provide much needed assistance to people during the critical winter months”, said Jibidar.