UN’s humanitarian organization says needs $200M to continue providing life-saving assistance.
GENEVA (AA) – Afghans are at risk as food supplies run low and harsh winter approaches making it difficult to deliver assistance in mountainous areas, the World Food Program (WFP) warned on Tuesday.
“Humanitarian catastrophe awaits the people of Afghanistan this winter unless the global community makes their lives a priority,” said Anthea Webb, WFP’s regional deputy director for Asia and the Pacific, at a briefing in Geneva.
“Usually at this time of year, WFP is busy pre-positioning food stocks in warehouses and with communities across Afghanistan, to be then distributed to needy Afghan families before they are cut off by brutal winter snows,” she added.
This year, however, tight funding levels and escalating needs mean WFP could run out of its main supply – wheat flour – from October.
“We have only a few short weeks to secure the necessary donor funding and get food in place before mountain passes are blocked by snow,” she said.
She said that over the past tumultuous week, referring to the Taliban takeover of the country and chaos that followed and people fearing retribution scrambling to leave the country, “WFP reached 80,000 people across Afghanistan, notwithstanding the difficulties.”
“That’s in addition to the more than 5 million people we’ve already helped since the beginning of the year,” Webb said.
Several years of severe drought, conflict, and the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 have compounded the problem leaving families ever more vulnerable and unable to make the most basic preparations for winter.
“We know how to prevent a hunger emergency despite the current challenges – we have worked in Afghanistan since 1963, including under the previous Taliban,” the UN official said. “Right now, we need $200 million to deliver lifesaving assistance before it is too late.”