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    UN seeks $437m to cope with Afghan natural disasters

    KABUL (PAN): The United Nations and the Afghan government have launched a joint appeal for $437 million to deal with natural disasters in the country, a Cabinet minister said on Saturday.

    Seeking $437 million in aid for the war-hit country alone, the UN has so far won pledges amounting to $7.7 million for Afghanistan, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan.

    Rural Rehabilitation and Development Minister Jarullah Mansoori said 28 percent of the aid contained food items for deserving families. The minister said the appeal for Afghanistan had been made after a thorough review of the situation in the country.

    To a question whether aid agencies would accept the demand, the minister said they were optimistic of a positive response, keeping in view the plight of Afghans.

    Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) head, Mohammad Dayem Kakar, said people had suffered a lot due to the ongoing war, with natural disasters adding to their miseries. 

    Nine million Afghans faced hunger due to the current drought that had precipitated mass exodus in several areas, he said.

    UN Humanitarian Coordinator Michael Keating Michael Keiting called Afghanistan’s appeal for the $437 million assistance genuine. He said the amount would be used for implementation of 154 crucial development projects this year.

    He added the aid would also be distributed to the people affected by foods, drought and other natural disasters. Nearly nine million Afghans are in disparate need of humanitarian assistance.