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    Balkh farmers assisted; aid being distributed in east

    MAZAR-I-SHARIF/JALALABAD (PAN): More than 5,000 farmers in northern Balkh province received food items, while the process of distributing aid to poor families launched in three eastern provinces on Thursday, local officials said.

    Each farmer in Balkh was given 200 kilograms of wheat and 25 kg of rice, the agriculture department head, Kabit Shams, told Pajhwok Afghan News. The relief was distributed to farmers affected by drought.

    The farmers coming from 14 districts were happy with the assistance. Jamaluddin, a resident of Dehdadi district, said nearly half of his crops were destroyed by drought last year. "We also ask the government to provide us improved seeds in addition to this assistance," he said.

    In other news, aid distribution process to 6,550 families in eastern Nangarhar, Nuristan and Laghman province began on Thursday. The aid for needy families is being distributed with the help of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an official said.

    The assistance included blankets, woolen shawls, warm cloth for male and female, tarpaulins, water jerry canes, liquefied gas cylinders, the UNHCR regional director, Mohammad Emal, told this news agency.

    The process of distributing the aid in the three provinces would be completed in coordination with the refugee and repatriate departments concerned, he said.

    A survey to identify needy families had already been completed prior to the launch of the distribution, he concluded.