UN food agency continues aiding Afghans despite security concerns

31 October 2001

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) reported today that despite the deteriorating security conditions in the Afghan capital of Kabul, the agency is continuing to aid poor people there.

A WFP spokesman cautioned, however, that "if the security conditions continue to deteriorate, this already difficult task could become impossible."

On Monday evening, the office of a non-governmental organization (NGO) working with WFP in Kabul was attacked. Four guards were beaten and equipment was taken. "Looting is becoming more frequent and further incidents were reported by other aid agencies in the Afghan capital this week," agency spokesman Khaled Mansour told reporters in Islamabad.

There are also unconfirmed reports that in Kandahar, where WFP lost control of its stocks on 16 October, some 1,600 tonnes of supplies had disappeared. WFP vehicles were also reportedly taken.

Today, aid workers completed the distribution of 2,300 tonnes of wheat to benefit 350,000 people through the WFP-supported Kabul bakeries initiative. In total, over the past week the agency has dispatched 10,000 tonnes of food aid to Afghanistan.

On the financial front, the agency appealed to donors to speed up their contributions. WFP has secured about 61 per cent of the $257 million it is seeking to help Afghans. "Although a generous start, the bottom line is that we need more food and cash in the country now in order to keep up," Mr. Mansour said.

 

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