In Afghanistan, Millions Face Hunger as Winter Approaches

Members of the Afghan National Police help distribute humanitarian supplies to villagers in Tudanak, Afghanistan. More than 2 million people in northern Afghanistan are facing hunger following a severe drought that has caused crop shortfall in the region. Photo by: Monica R. Nelson / isafmedia / CC BY

More than 2 million people in northern Afghanistan are facing hunger following a severe drought that has caused crop shortfall in the region. The situation is expected to worsen with the upcoming winter, according to several aid groups.

Nine aid groups, including Oxfam, have released a joint statement to highlight the situation and urge the international community and Afghan government to ensure people receive the food assistance they require quickly.

“Donors and relief agencies must remain vigilant and responsive as more resources will be required if the situation deteriorates because of a harsh winter,” said Manohar Shenoy, Oxfam’s country director in Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press.

Some aid agencies have also raised questions on why the situation in northern Afghanistan persists despite the billions of dollars in foreign aid received by the country.

One theory is that donors focus their aid programs in Helmand, Kandahar and other conflict-torn cities in southern Afghanistan, BBC notes, adding that aid agencies have slammed this policy, which they describe as “militarized aid.”

“They are aiming on winning hearts and minds by implementing quick fix, quick impact projects,” said Louise Hancock, Oxfam’s policy and advocacy director in Afghanistan. “These result in schools being built in areas where there are no roads going to them, where needs are not at their greatest or where there are not enough teachers to staff that school.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.