“Humanitarian catastrophe awaits the people of Afghanistan this winter unless the global community makes their lives a priority,” said World Food Program’s (WFP) regional deputy director for Asia and the Pacific Anthea Webb at a briefing at the UN in Geneva.
“Usually at this time of year, WFP is busy pre-positioning food stocks in warehouses and with communities across Afghanistan, to be then distributed to needy Afghan families before they are cut off by brutal winter snows,” she added.
Due to the combined effects of drought and the coronavirus pandemic, on top of years of conflict, 14 million people in Afghanistan are food insecure, including 2 million children who are malnourished.
According to Webb, one in three children are going hungry in Afghanistan.
Millions of Afghans face the risk of starvation and a “catastrophe on top of a catastrophe” Webb warned, saying the agency needs $200m by the end of the year to continue its operations in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover.
“This year, tight funding levels and escalating needs mean WFP could run out of its main supply – wheat flour – from October. We have only a few short weeks to secure the necessary donor funding and get food in place before mountain passes are blocked by snow,” Webb said.
“We have only a few short weeks to secure the necessary donor funding and get food in place before mountain passes are blocked by snow,” Webb told the briefing.
“We need this funding now because the winter months are coming. We have four million people in the most difficult areas where winter just compounds the opportunity to reach them,” Webb said.
On top of years of conflict, Afghanistan’s food security has also been threatened by drought and the coronavirus pandemic.
Afghanistan is now facing economic collapse, with foreign countries and institutions saying they will withhold aid and money to Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of the country.