A $142 million appeal was launched by the humanitarian country team in Afghanistan to enable aid agencies to provide emergency assistance to roughly 2.6 million people at ‘severe risk’ of hunger there. The assistance aims to prevent the situation from deteriorating before the onset of the winter and spring lean seasons in December.
Some 7 million people are ”at general risk of hunger“ in Afghanistan, where the drought is further exacerbating the critical situation for many communities in insecure and underdeveloped areas affected by conflict. Of the 14 provinces affected by the drought, four provinces will suffer the most because of decreased access due to winter conditions. This is in addition to food security challenges, given their next harvest won’t be until September 2012.
The additional funding request will bring the 2011 Consolidated Appeal for Afghanistan, Emergency Revision in Response to Drought to $583 million. Of this, only 58 percent is currently funded. Immediate needs are related to food security, nutrition, health and access to water.
The crisis is the eighth slow-onset drought in the country since 2000, when rain and water shortfall led to decreased agricultural productivity. This is why Peter Crowley, the acting humanitarian coordinator and UNICEF Country Representative in Afghanistan, stressed the importance of complementing humanitarian assistance with an “increasing focus on development to prevent recurrence of the impact of drought on vulnerable communities.”
The Afghan government said people who are experiencing severe food shortages will receive direct food aid, work projects and livestock food support. It said 40,000 tons of wheat, 5,000 tons of rice, 10,000 tons of improved wheat seed and 20,000 tons of animal fodder are already being distributed. Japan, meanwhile has pledged 9,000 tons of animal feed, the government said.
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