Lack of funds threatens UN food aid to millions of vulnerable Afghans

On average, WFP distributes food to 7.3 million people in Afghanistan yearly, mainly in remote, rural areas

15 April 2011 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today it urgently needs $257 million to continue providing food and assistance to over 7 million vulnerable Afghans, most of whom are women and children.

“We are making this appeal to give us the best possible chance of plugging the looming gaps in supply,” said Louis Imbleau, WFP’s Country Director for Afghanistan. “Food security is the bedrock of development in this country – especially for the youngest and most vulnerable.”

WFP’s operation in Afghanistan has a twin focus, providing lifesaving relief and emergency aid for immediate needs, including those stemming from conflict and natural disaster, and improving overall food security, in partnership with the Government.

The agency lacks half of the funding it needs to assist 7.3 million Afghans across all 34 provinces this year, and if money does not come in soon a “critical pipeline break” in wheat is expected to occur in June, it stated in a news release.

This will affect millions of people in Afghanistan, where wheat is the primary food staple and is used in rations for nearly all WFP operations, including food-for-work activities, vocational training and literacy programmes for women and other marginalized groups, and emergency food distributions.

Supplies of vegetable oil and pulses will run short in July and August, the agency added.

The funding shortfall will also mean that WFP will have to scale back school-feeding activities by half in June, affecting more than a million schoolchildren.

“By August, without swift and robust support from the international community, WFP will have exhausted all remaining commodities and be forced to reduce or suspend some parts of the operation,” it stated.

The agency is calling on donors to provide a rapid injection of funds so that it can begin procuring food locally and regionally to avoid a potentially devastating break in food supplies.


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