Aid operations in Afghanistan expand, but most people are hungry (UN)


UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) – The reach of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan is increasing, but only a fraction of the population has enough to eat, a UN spokesperson said Thursday.

“The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service operates flights almost daily to various provinces and including Kabul,” said Stéphane Dujarric, chief spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. “UN road movements across the country have been reestablished for the first time in several years.”

However, a World Food Program survey shows that only 5 percent of households in Afghanistan have enough to eat every day.

The agency said job losses, lack of money and skyrocketing food prices are creating a new class of starving people in Afghanistan.

Dujarric recalled that donors pledged more than US $ 1.2 billion on September 13 for humanitarian and development assistance to Afghanistan. However, only 20 percent of the US $ 606 million required until the end of the year, or US $ 121 million, has been received.

“We can only work with money,” he said. “We cannot work with pledges. This is important so that we can continue to get life-saving assistance, including food, medicine, health care and protection for those Afghans who need it most.

In a list of some aid operations, Dujarric said the Food and Agriculture Organization was distributing more than 8,500 metric tons of wheat seeds to help more than 170,000 vulnerable families during the planting season of winter wheat from September to October.

He said the International Organization for Migration was supporting the construction of a causeway and other disaster risk mitigation infrastructure in Nangahar province.

The spokesperson said the United Nations Population Fund was supporting a hospital in Herat province with emergency reproductive health supplies covering the treatment of around 1,500 medical and surgical cases.

The United Nations Refugee Agency has improved access to essential services for communities affected by conflict and displacement, including road construction in Khost province. Dujarric said the operations boost not only access to his services, but also markets and jobs.

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