Afghanistan Facing Food Crisis Amid Drought and Political Turmoil, WFP Warns

The UN’s World Food Programme has warned that Afghanistan is facing a hunger crisis following a recent drought, mounting food prices, and political turmoil, and says it urgently needs $200 million to support 14 million people until the end of year.

The country’s second drought in three years had devastated crops and heightened food insecurity, with more than 40 percent of the country’s crops lost to drought this year, while the socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic had left “essential food out of reach for many families,” the WFP said.

“In the past three weeks, the Afghani fell by 8.6 percentage points and hit a new record low,” said John Dumont, Head of Emergency Communications at WFP. “As most basic food items are imported, the rise in the price of dollar led to an increase in food prices. Accordingly, the price of wheat, wheat flour, rice, pulses, salt and sugar considerably increased in recent weeks,” Dumont said.

John Aylieff, the WFP’s Regional Director for Asia, said on August 23 that 14 million people in Afghanistan were struggling to put food on the table. “The price of wheat has gone up by 25 percent in the last months, and therefore with the economic situation, with the difficult with earning income and with the turmoil in which the country has been thrown, it is very difficult now to see the future for this population, a future which is food secure, a future without malnourished children,” Aylieff said.

This footage released by the WFP shows displaced people living on the streets of Kabul, a bakery in capital, and a WFP distribution center in the Mazar-i-Sharif area of Balkh province, where the WFP said it planned to “reach almost 500,000 people area with wheat flour, oil, lentils and salt” in August.

One Balkh resident, according to a translation provided by the WFP, says: “There are no crops, no raining, no water and people are living in misery. This is a great mercy from God and it really helps poor and needy people.”.

The WFP said it needed to assist nine million people per month by November but, in order to meet mounting needs, “food stock must be prepositioned in-country and at strategic border points before the snow arrives.”

“To scale back on food assistance will only add to instability and desperation across the country,” the WFP added. Credit: World Food Programme via Storyful

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