The number of Afghans who urgently need food aid has grown to 3.5 million, as a drought has hit vast parts of the country, the World Food Program (WFP) said Friday.
Twenty out of 34 provinces are suffering from a lack of water, especially in the north-west. More than 200,000 people have fled their homes and moved elsewhere in Afghanistan because of the drought, WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel told a press conference in Geneva. Farmers have delayed planting or downsized their wheat cultivation, following the lack of rain and snowfall during the last winter. Goats and sheep have been struggling to find food, according to an earlier report by the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
While the United States, Britain, Australia and Japan have been partly funding food aid, WFP said it needs 83.6 million dollars more to cover the period from December to next May. "During this particularly difficult period the Afghan government, the U.N. agencies including WFP, and partners, need additional support," Verhoosel said. Food insecurity is one of the issues to be discussed at the international Afghanistan conference from November 27-28 in Geneva.