Afghanistan: UN (Not U.S.) Rushes to Feed 7,3 Million Poor

Human Wrongs Watch

Rome – UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced a new food subsidy initiative geared towards providing Afghanistan’s urban poor with guaranteed access to provisions despite the threat of food insecurity across this country, which has been invaded and occupied by a U.S.-led military coalition nearly ten years ago.

A Jalalabad woman receives her first food voucher from WFP | Credit:UN

Some 18,000 households – or an estimated 114,000 individuals – consisting mainly of poor women and households headed by people with disabilities will benefit from the project, Rome-based WFP announced on Jan. 3. Each monthly voucher is worth $25 and can be exchanged for food items in participating local shops.

While most of WFP’s work has traditionally focused on food-insecure rural areas of Afghanistan, the new voucher project, to which the UN agency will contribute $3 million over a six-month period, will function as a safety net for those urban poor who are particularly vulnerable to high food prices.

Over Seven Million Afghans, Mostly Women and Children

The project, coordinated in partnership with the Afghan Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs, and Disabled (MoLSAMD), is designed to assist households in Kabul through a monthly cash voucher programme aimed at offsetting the impact high food prices have on the city’s poor.

On 15 April 2011, WFP had already announced that it urgently needed $257 million to continue providing food and assistance to over 7 million vulnerable Afghans, most of whom are women and children. The figure is equivalent to one fourth of Afghanistan total population.

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 UN agency lacked last April half of the funding it needs to assist 7.3 million Afghans across all 34 provinces in 2011, noting that “if money does not come in soon a “critical pipeline break” in wheat was expected to occur in June.

This would 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 marginalised groups, and emergency food distributions.

The year 2011 started with a joint operation by WFP and the Afghan government to map out a common strategy for providing food aid to millions of vulnerable Afghans over three years, to help on average 7.3 million vulnerable people each year, mainly in rural areas.


Also read:

Another Year of Death and Destruction in the AfPak War

Stop This Military Madness’ in Afghanistan

Why Did the U.S. Attack Pakistan?

Afghan and U.S. Troops Forcing Civilians to March Onto Mined Roads?

U.S.-led “Enduring Freedom”: Systematic Torture and Abuse in Afghan Prisons

U.S-Backed Afghan Police and Militia Behind Killings and Rape

Afghanistan, The Worst Place To Be A Mother Or A Child

Occupied Afghanistan Has ‘Long Way to Go’ in Protecting Women

Afghanistan Provides 90 % of World’s Opium

Sharp Increase in Afghan Opium Production and Consumption

2012 Human Wrongs Watch

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