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UN Seeks $400m To Feed Afghans Hit By Food Crisis

UN seeks $400 million to feed Afghans hit by food crisis and drought

9 July 2008 - The United Nations and the Government of Afghanistan today appealed for just over $400 million to feed 4.5 million people who are struggling as a result of rising food prices, poor harvests and drought.

The 12-month appeal aims to ensure food aid for 450,000 urban and rural households that have been hit hardest by the surge in the prices of staples such as wheat which have increased by 50 to 100 per cent in some parts of the country.

Afghanistan's wheat harvest is expected to be 36 per cent lower this year than in 2007, according to a news release issued by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). Last year the country was able to produce over 90 per cent of its own food.

However, the harvest for this year is forecast to be around two-thirds of the domestic requirements. Around two million tonnes of grain will have to be imported.

"There is an urgent need to provide life-saving assistance to Afghanistan's people, the needs are great and the time is limited," said UN Humanitarian Coordinator and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Bo Asplund.

The appeal will also provide some 300,000 farming families with vital livestock and agricultural assistance, and 550,000 women and children with help to protect them from malnutrition.

The funds will also be used to provide safe drinking water, promote good hygiene in drought-affected communities and improve disease control.

"With the support of the international community, we can prevent millions of Afghans being pushed into food insecurity, avoid displacement of families and protect them against malnutrition," Mr. Asplund stated.

"We urge donors to step forward with commitments of support that will enable us to provide essential food, water and health services to vulnerable groups over the next 12 months."


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