In the Grip of Hunger: Only 5% of Afghan Families Have Enough to Eat


WFP racing against clock to provide most vulnerable with life-saving food – but funding is short
Boys with donkeys carrying water jerrycans on arid background
Two droughts in the space of three years have hit Afghanistan hard. Photo: WFP/Arete

(WFP)* — As the harsh Afghan winter looms closer, recent surveys conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP) have revealed that only five percent of families have enough to eat every day, while half reported they had run out of food altogether at least once in the past two weeks.

For the first time, urban residents are suffering from food insecurity at similar rates to rural communities, which have been ravaged by drought twice in the past three years. The situation is also dire among the middle classes, who used to be able to feed their families every day.

Due to the combined effects of unemployment, a drop in the value of the local currency and a rise in prices – cooking oil has almost doubled in price since 2020, and wheat is up by 28 percent – only 10 percent of families headed by someone with a secondary or university education can afford sufficient food.

Afghan man choosing food outside shop
Increasing prices and currency devaluation are putting food out  of reach for the majority of Afghans. Photo:WFP/Arete

So far this year, WFP has provided 6.4 million people with food assistance, including more than 1.4 million people since the Taliban takeover on 15 August. 

Throughout the difficult past two months, WFP has continued school feeding programmes, helping to keep boys and girls in school and staving off malnutrition, bolstering the local economy when food is produced and purchased locally, creating stable markets, supporting local agriculture, and strengthening local food systems.

convoy of WFP trucks in arid landscape
WFP convoy leaves Pakistan to take nutrition assistance to Pakistan. Photo: WFP Photolibrary

To address the nutritional needs of young children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, ten WFP trucks reached Afghanistan on 21 September through the Chaman-Spin Boldak border with Pakistan. The convoy carried urgently needed nutrition supplements to be distributed in Kandahar and Herat.

“WFP is racing against the clock to provide life-saving food and nutrition assistance to the most vulnerable Afghan families. We urgently need US$200 million to buy and pre-position food before the winter sets in – if we miss this window the consequences will be catastrophic,” said McGroarty. 

2021 Human Wrongs Watch

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