UN food agency renews appeal to donors for southern Africa, Afghanistan
With millions in both southern Africa and Afghanistan facing severe food shortages and threatened by famine, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today stepped up its appeal for international aid for both places.
During a meeting in Rome of senior FAO experts and donor country representatives, the agency's Director of Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation, Anne Bauer, and Assistant Director-General for Technical Cooperation, Henri Carsalade, launched the appeal, saying they had witnessed the breadth of the tragedy facing both Afghanistan and southern Africa during recent visits to the areas.
More than 14 million people need emergency food aid in drought-stricken southern Africa. One of the worst affected areas is Zimbabwe, where more than half of the population is suffering from severe food shortages, according to FAO. Winter harvests are expected to be scarce and the situation risks deteriorating even further.
The agency said it has received a mere 34 per cent of the total funds it had appealed for in mid-August to deal with the southern African food crisis, seriously hindering its efforts to deal with the emergency.
In Afghanistan, where FAO is working with multiple partners to rebuild the country, some 7.5 million people still depend on humanitarian aid. The agency has completed 22 emergency aid projects and five short-term projects in the country for a total of $29 million, while another 10 short- and medium-term projects worth $24 million are being prepared.
A total of $53 million in aid for Afghanistan has either already been received or is expected to arrive in the next few months, FAO said. Yet the total cost of rehabilitating the country's agricultural sector is $202 million.
"We must help Afghan households, and especially rural women, to begin farming activities to enable them to generate income," Ms. Bauer said, adding that FAO's efforts to promote money-generating initiatives such as poultry raising were already bringing hope to many rural people.