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Worst Winter In Years For Afghanis

UN Agency Still Struggling To Feed Afghans Hit By Worst Winter In Years

Although road clearance and air drops have sped up emergency operations in Afghanistan, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is still struggling to reach the most isolated areas in central areas, where thousands of people struck by the country’s harshest winter for years urgently need assistance.

Bad roads are delaying the delivery of emergency food to some 14,000 people in different parts of central Uruzgan province. Over 230 tons of food, dispatched to Gizab, Chora and Khas Uruzgan districts on 24 February, have reportedly passed Uruzgan’s capital Tirinkot, but have still not reached the almost 2,300 families in need.

In a dramatic change of seasonal temperatures, the Central Highlands experienced spring-like weather with the heavy snowfalls already beginning to melt and several avalanches have been reported. UN agencies in Bamyan will be joining forces with governmental and non-government partners to organize a disaster mitigation response in the event of spring flooding or landslides.

As in Uruzgan, adverse road conditions continue to hamper humanitarian operations in Ghor province, although clearance of critical access roads and air drops by United States-led coalition forces have brought in assistance.

In Zabul province, WFP has now completed the distribution of 515 tons of food to almost 55,000 people, including 85 tons airlifted by military helicopters to remote areas that were impossible to reach by land. The agency is ready to continue providing relief for extra needs that have reportedly arisen.

WFP’s emergency response is part of the wide scale humanitarian relief operation launched by the UN in support of Government efforts to aid those worst-hit by the weather.

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