27 February 2005 Responding to poor road conditions and heavy snow in Afghanistan, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is organizing relief airdrops over two remote areas in the centre of the country.
Coalition forces aircraft dropped 40 tons of food provided by WFP over Tulak and Saghar districts in the central Ghor province. WFP's partner, Samander Development Programme, is working with local authorities and community leaders to distribute the food to 7,600 people there.
The snow has recently hampered relief activities in various parts of Afghanistan, according to WFP, which illustrated the difficulty by reporting that one of its four-wheel drive vehicles took seven hours to cover a 10 kilometre distance in Ghor province.
Many people, especially children, have died because of the unusual cold wave, most falling victim to severe respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Mohamed Naem, a 36-year old villager in Farsi district told WFP aid workers who have been stranded because of snow for the past few weeks that his neighbours are in bad need of food, medicine and heating supplies.
“We are about to run out of bushes and animal dung that we had stocked during the year,” he said. “Now I wonder what to burn next so that I can keep warm.”
Khair Mohamed Khairkhwa, the Governor of Hirat province, has called on WFP and the United States–led coalition to provide food airdrops for 5,500 of people who have been cut off in his province due to the extreme weather conditions.
Near Hirat City, the heavy snowfall has blocked access roads to about 80 villages which have become inaccessible from the district centres. WFP is considering ways to assist the people there.