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UN Gearing Up For Harsh Afghan Winter

Gearing Up For Harsh Afghan Winter, UN Agency Pre-Positions Emergency Food

Gearing up for the onset of winter in Afghanistan after last season brought the harshest weather and heaviest snowfalls in years, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today it was continuing to pre-position supplies for half a million people who could be cut off for months.

With high altitude areas in the mountainous central Asian country becoming inaccessible from November to March, some 23,000 metric tonnes are being earmarked for the project, which includes schemes such as food for snow clearing and for digging wells. Poor people who are unable to join in work projects receive free food rations, and school children are also being targeted.

The WFP office in Mazar, in the north, has pre-positioned 100 per cent of the food for Mazar, Balkh, Faryab, Samangan and Sari Pul provinces. Just over 4,000 metric tonnes are in place to be distributed to nearly 162,000 people.

In Faizabad, in the north-east, the agency has delivered nearly 89 per cent of food to targeted districts in Badakhshan, Baghlan and Takhar provinces, with close to 9,200 tonnes ready for distribution to some 186,500 people and just over 1,150 tonnes still to be delivered.

In the west, the office has completed delivery of 69 per cent of the food allocated for winter for the provinces of Heart, Bagdhis and Ghor. An estimated 1,800 tonnes is planned for nearly 58,900 people.

Last season, WFP had to resort to air drops in collaboration with the Government and United States-led coalition forces in an effort to reach tens of thousands of people isolated by huge snow drifts.

ENDS

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