WFP positioning food in Afghanistan ahead of harsh winter
KABUL - The World Food Programme is moving tens of thousands of metric tons of food to remote areas of Afghanistan in preparation for the rapidly approaching winter.
Pre-positioning food before heavy snowfall begins will allow WFP to continue providing desperately needed assistance to vulnerable Afghans during the harsh winter months.
“The people of Afghanistan face incredible hardship during the brutal winter and the ‘lean season’ in the spring,” said WFP Country Director Stefano Porretti. “It is absolutely vital that we get this food in place before the snow comes, so we can continue providing help to those who need it most.”
Winter pre-positioning began in August and is expected to continue through November.
The plan calls for dispatching nearly 33,000 metric tons of food to some of the most remote and food-insecure parts of the country.
The food – including wheat, pulses, oil, salt and fortified biscuits – will support more than 862,000 needy Afghans living in parts of the country that will be cut off for months by heavy snowfall.
The supplies will allow WFP’s programmes to operate in those areas until the roads re-open in the spring.
“Winter pre-positioning is one of the biggest logistical challenges that WFP faces here,” Mr Porretti said.
In the initial stages, WFP has focused on the parts of the country where winter
arrives earliest, which also tend to be the most mountainous and hardest to reach any time of year, and are impossible to access once the snow comes.
The food being dispatched now will support WFP’s programmes such as food-for-training projects, which teach people marketable new skills to allow them to earn a better living, or food-for-work initiatives, which help communities improve their own infrastructure, including roads or irrigation canals.
WFP is also pre-positioning fortified biscuits and other food commodities used in its school meals programme, which encourages classroom attendance and gives children the nutrition they need to concentrate on their lessons.
WFP plans to feed 8.8 million vulnerable people in Afghanistan in 2009.