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UN, Afghanistan appeal for over $80 million to combat rising wheat prices

UN, Afghanistan appeal for over $80 million to combat rising wheat prices

The United Nations and the Government of Afghanistan joined forces today to launch an appeal for more than $80 million to help over 2.5 million people in the country facing food shortages due to the soaring price of wheat.

Bread is a staple food for the majority of Afghanistan’s population, while wheat is the most important food crop domestically. In the past year, the price of wheat flour in the country has surged 58 per cent, or even up to 80 per cent in some areas.

There is a crucial need for targeted food assistance to prevent the situation from deteriorating further, according to the Government, the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

“This joint appeal is on behalf of 425,000 extremely poor Afghan families, who otherwise will be unable to meet their most basic need – that of food – especially during the current harsh winter months, until the next harvest season,” said Bo Asplund, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General.

He urged donors to contribute generously “to ensure that these families can feed themselves, and so that the most vulnerable, who are predominantly children and women, do not succumb to malnutrition.”

The funds generated will also supply nutritional supplements to those who are most at risk and people already suffering from severe malnutrition.

Also in Afghanistan, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has handed over a new Female Prison/Detention Center in the capital Kabul to the Ministry of Justice.

Located in the Tahia-e-Maskan area, the facility, which was constructed by UNODC with funding from the Italian Government, will host 96 female prisoners.

“The Female Prison/Detention Center will respond in a new dynamic way to the needs of women offenders sentenced to imprisonment by Courts and will provide a more individual treatment, such as rehabilitation and re-education programmes as required by international standards and laid out in the Afghan national legislation,” said Matteo Pasquali, UNODC International Project Coordinator.

The project is part of a larger effort to reform Afghanistan’s penitentiary system, and supports the passing of new laws to bring national measures in line with international norms.