Immediate funding needed to avoid new ration cuts for millions in Afghanistan

By World Food Programme

Immediate funding needed to avoid new ration cuts for millions in Afghanistan

As funding shortfalls force WFP to reduce its lifesaving assistance to four million Afghans, WFP renews its call for urgent and continued support for critical operations in Afghanistan. With severe hunger hitting nearly 20 million Afghans – six million of them one step away from famine – the international community must prioritize the basic needs of the most vulnerable people of Afghanistan.

“The country is at the highest risk of famine in a quarter of a century and WFP’s food assistance is the last lifeline for millions of Afghans,” said Hsiao-Wei Lee, WFP Country Director in Afghanistan. “The reduction of food assistance comes when Afghans are emerging from another freezing winter and are already worn down from battling one crisis after another. Unless humanitarian support is sustained, hundreds of thousands more Afghans will need assistance to survive.”

At current funding levels, WFP will only be able to provide crucial support to four million people out of the 13 million planned in April. To ensure support for the people of Afghanistan at half rations, WFP urgently needs US$93 million by April and US$800 million for the next six months.

WFP’s unavoidable reduced assistance comes at the most difficult time of the year for rural families as their food stocks have run out before the next harvest is due in May. Levels of moderate acute malnutrition to are the highest ever recorded in the country and an estimated four million children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition this year.

Funding permitting, this year WFP plans to reach 21 million people with lifesaving food, nutrition, and livelihood support. Last year, WFP supported 23 million people – 12 million of whom were women and girls – thanks to funding from its generous donors. WFP distributed more than 1 million metric tons of food and US$326 million in cash or vouchers to help families survive.