More cash needed to feed vulnerable Afghans: WFP

The WFP needs $257 million to keep providing food to 7.3 million Afghans.

Updated: Apr 16, 2011, 15:10 PM IST

Kabul: Food aid to some seven million Afghans is under threat unless the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) receives hundreds of millions of dollars in extra funding soon, it warned.

The WFP urgently needs USD 257 million so it can keep providing food to 7.3 million people in the war-torn country, it said in a statement released late Friday, otherwise its work could be scaled back or suspended within months.

It currently lacks half of the funding it needs for this year.

"We are making this appeal to give us the best possible chance of plugging the looming gaps in supply," said the WFP`s Afghanistan country director Louis Imbleau.

"Food security is the bedrock of development in this country -- especially for the youngest and most vulnerable."

Without extra cash, the WFP says it will have to scale back school feeding work by half in June, hitting over a million schoolchildren.

Supplies of wheat, the main staple in Afghanistan, will also be affected at the same time while vegetable oil and pulses will run short in July and August.

By August, it warned that without extra support, it would be "forced to reduce or suspend some parts of the operation”.

Despite massive injections of foreign aid since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghanistan remains desperately poor with some of the lowest living standards in the world.

There are currently around 130,000 international troops in the country fighting the Taliban and other insurgents in a war which has lasted nearly ten years.

Bureau Report