Afghanistan: UN food agency rushes supplies to feed 60,000 in wake of floods
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today stepped up assistance to victims of devastating spring floods in Afghanistan, sending 1,000 tonnes of emergency rations to feed 60,000 people for 30 days, but the agency is concerned about those affected who are beyond the reach of immediate help.
“We don’t have a lot of time to waste,” said the WFP Afghanistan Country Director Rick Corsino. “It can take quite a while in this country to get food and other assistance to affected people and there are many in desperate need of food, shelter, blankets and medicine.”
WFP is worried about flood victims who are stranded in remote – sometimes war-torn – mountainous regions made inaccessible by road destruction, landslides and avalanches.
The agency voiced particular concern about the difficulties in sending aid to the heavily impacted southern province of Helmand, where security is a major concern given the frequent clashes between insurgents and Government and international forces.
Trucks carrying WFP food have frequently been attacked by anti-Government elements, complicating aid distribution.
Although the full death and destruction toll is unknown, the heavy rains which began last month have killed dozens of people and many more domestic livestock, damaged or destroyed thousands of homes and washed away tens of thousands of hectares of cultivated land.
The relentless precipitation, coupled with quickly melting winter snow, has also impeded access on the highways linking the capital Kabul to the north and south of the country.
The Vice President of Afghanistan has declared 13 of the country’s 34 provinces as disaster areas, and WFP is coordinating with the Government, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and international military forces to distribute aid.
“We have been working very well together to quickly assess the real needs and deliver as much help as we can, and as fast as we can, to those who need it most,” Mr. Corsino.