UN allocates $34.6 million to aid relief efforts in severe Afghanistan drought
The United Nations’ Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund (AHF) and Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) have allocated $34.6 million in emergency aid to support 2.2 million people affected by a severe drought, according to a report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
An estimated 260,000 people have been driven from their homes in northern and western Afghanistan because of a drought in the region, making this one of the area’s most severe droughts in almost a decade. The BBC's Secunder Kermani reported that the drought has displaced more people this year than the war between the government and the Taliban.
Toby Lanzer, Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan stated:
“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.”
The recent funding of $34.6 million from the UN will be used by NGOs and UN agencies to distribute food, maintain primary health services, provide emergency health services, provide safe drinking water, and help farmers protect their livestock, the UN report shows.
The UN’s World Food Programme (UNWFP) has been aiding relief efforts by distributing money for people to use to buy food. Qadir Assemy from UNWFP who helping co-ordinate the relief effort in Herat, the third largest city in Afghanistan, told the BBC the drought was “very challenging because of the scale of the disaster.”
“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 impending winter weather will complicate relief efforts and could worsen the conditions in refugee camps in places like Herat. Officials fear that without more assistance, many people will not make it through the cold winter months.
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Photo credit: AFP