WFP to assist nine million Afghans in 2009
KABUL - Nearly nine million Afghans will benefit from United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP) projects in 2009. WFP distributed over 21,000 tons of food to more than 1.5 million Afghans in all 34 provinces of the country last month it announced today at the weekly United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) press conference in Kabul.
Through their regular activities, which does not include emergency relief - WFP will distribute food to 3.7 million people this year in Afghanistan, primarily in remote, food-insecure rural areas.
Around 400,000 Afghans each year are seriously affected by natural disasters, such as droughts, floods, earthquakes and extreme weather conditions.
Through general food distribution, WFP provided food assistance to nearly 500,000 people across the country in March. These included emergency food to the victims of natural disasters, internally displaced persons and those living in urban areas who have been affected by high food prices and drought.
WFP provides assistance to those in need through a range of relief and recovery activities, including food-for-work, food-for-training and food-for-education.
More than 560,000 Afghans received more than 10,000 tons of food under food-for-work projects which include irrigation canals, ponds, water channels and roads.
The objective of food-for-education is to assist the Government of Afghanistan in rebuilding the national education system. To alleviate short-term hunger and encourage school attendance, in March, more than 465,000 children received WFP food in schools, including an added incentive to female students to reduce the gender gap resulting in a higher school attendance by girls.
Tuberculosis is a problem in Afghanistan which many different partners are now tackling. In order to encourage tuberculosis patients to complete their treatment WFP provides them with food rations. A total of 489 tons of food was distributed to more than 30,000 Afghans suffering from tuberculosis in the last month.
The WFP component of a joint United Nations-Afghan Government appeal for donor assistance launched in July 2008 is now fully funded. For 2009, WFP currently faces a shortfall of US$ 14.4 million.
By Homayon Khoram, UNAMA