Millions of Afghans face hunger, warn aid agencies
KABUL (PAN): More than 2.5 million people in Afghanistan are in urgent need of essential food aid, as drought grips areas in 14 provinces and snow threatens the current relief effort, NGOs warned on Friday.
Nine Afghan and foreign NGOs said in a joint statement that challenges, including a UN emergency appeal that has been funded only seven percent, hindered an adequate response to the looming crisis.
ActionAid, Action Contre La Faim, Afghanaid, Afghan Development Association, CARE International, Concern, People In Need, Oxfam International and Save the Children urged donors and government to ensure assistance reached those who needed it most, as quickly as possible.
Typical Afghan weather patterns mean that those living in mountainous areas -- up to half of the affected population -- will soon be cut off from help, according to an Oxfam statement.
"Families are coping by cutting down their meals, borrowing money and even moving to Iran or Pakistan. Some 90 per cent of households in the affected area are now living in debt after borrowing money to buy food," it said.
The agencies said food, clean water and extra healthcare made available in the next few weeks would be critical as families faced the risk of rising rates of disease and malnutrition.
David Skinner, Save the Children’s country director, said: "Families are facing being cut off for winter without enough food and clean water. We know children are going hungry, and with malnutrition levels already high, unless aid efforts are ramped up, children could die because they do not get enough to eat."
Oxfam’s country director Manohar Shenoy said: "Time is running out to be able to provide communities with the help they most desperately need before a harsh winter makes many areas inaccessible..."
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