UN allocates $34.6mn for drought-affected Afghans

Kabul: The UN has allocated $34.6 million in emergency aid to support 2.2 million Afghans affected by a severe drought, it was announced on Wednesday.

The amount was allocated by UN Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund and Central Emergency Response Fund, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement cited by Xinhua news agency.

The fund will help seven national non-governmental organizations (NGOs), 15 international NGOs and four UN agencies for distributing food and seeds, maintain primary health services, provide emergency shelter, safe drinking water, improve hygiene and sanitation, treat severe malnutrition and help farmers protect their livestock,” the statement added.

“The impact of the ongoing drought spans the north and west of the country leaving communities in deep distress. Village elders in rural areas tell me that this is the worst drought in their lifetime and that food, fodder and seeds are needed urgently,” said Toby Lanzer, a humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan.

“The drought has forced a quarter of a million people from their land and for the displaced, the need for shelter is critical as winter approaches.

“The drought comes on top of years of conflict and poverty, and therefore humanitarian assistance goes hand in hand with development programmes to address underlying factors such as poverty and climate change. Our work is closely coordinated with the authorities, yet still more needs to be done so the people of Afghanistan can withstand severe shocks such as this drought,” Lanzer added.

Up to 20 of the country’s 34 provinces were affected by the drought and Afghans officials predicted that around 3 million people will be in need of aid till the end of this year.