WFP delivers food to flood victims
13 May 2009 - The United Nations World Food Programme is providing emergency food assistance to thousands of people in five provinces of Afghanistan.
The move comes in the wake of floods which have claimed scores of lives and caused widespread damage to infrastructure and farmland.
WFP has so far delivered emergency food rations - consisting of wheat, pulses, oil and salt - to 25,300 people affected by flooding in the north, northeast and west of the country. It has also approved projects which will contribute to rebuilding damaged infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the heavy spring rains, which have caused severe flooding in the Balkh, Badakhshan, Jawazjan, Takhar and Herat provinces, are continuing in some areas.
"There are serious concerns about continued flooding, especially in the north and northeast of Afghanistan. Assessments will continue to determine whether further emergency support is needed," said Lubna Alaman, WFP's Officer-in-Charge in Afghanistan.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that in the past two weeks at least 30 people have lost their lives as a result of the floods and 64 people as a result of a landslide in Badakhshan province. In some areas there has been damage to roads, irrigation canals and houses, with many being completely destroyed. Cultivated land has been flooded and many livestock have been killed.
In order to repair some of the damage caused to irrigation canals and roads, WFP has already approved Food for Work projects for communities in Badakhshan.
"These projects will support community members with food rations as they repair the damage. Work is set to begin in the coming days," Alaman said.
Priority needs are food and temporary shelter materials, according to UN assessment missions. Stocks of emergency relief supplies must also be replenished in anticipation of more floods.
Meanwhile, heavy machinery is needed to clear blocked access roads, particularly in Faryab, Balkh, and Samangan provinces in the north and Badakhshan in the northeast.
The overall emergency response is being coordinated by the Provincial Disaster Management Committees (PDMCs), in close collaboration with UN agencies and NGOs.
By Susannah Nicol, WFP