‘Every day I pray for food aid for us’: UK funding brings relief to families in Afghanistan – Afghanistan

Almost half of the country’s population – 20 million people – do not have enough to eat

June 10, 2022, Staff Writers

Alia queues at a WFP food aid site in Kabul, waiting for the food basket that will be a lifeline for her family of nine.

“Since the government situation changed last year, unemployment has increased and people’s economic situation has deteriorated,” she said. “Because the economy is not good, people come here to receive food. If there was no help, all these people would die of hunger and poverty. With support from UK Aid and other donors, the World Food Program is able to reach families like Alia’s with general food distributions and cash transfers.

Alia has four sons and three daughters to take care of. Prior to August 2021, Alia ran a beauty salon. H. However, with the cultural shift against women after the fall of the country and the collapse of the economy, Alia is no longer able to work in her small business while her husband can no longer work as a mechanic due to of health problems.

“Without this assistance from the WFP, we would have no income at all,” says Alia. “We had nothing since the tenth day of Ramadan and every day I pray for food aid for us. My children now go to school one day and work on the streets the next to help us buy food. We feel helpless. If we didn’t feel helpless, we wouldn’t be doing this.

An economy reeling from a multi-level crisis

Faced with a plummeting economy, consecutive drought seasons, soaring food prices and a global pandemic, Alia’s family is one of many Afghans who have turned to aid organizations for support. humanitarian aid, especially during the lean months leading up to the June planting season. While the upcoming harvest should bring some relief, many families have run into debt in recent months, mortgaging land and other assets to buy food to make up the shortfall.

According to the global standard for food insecurity (IPC or Integrated Food Phase Classification), nearly 20 million people face food insecurity, including 6.6 million who suffer from acute hunger. With funding from UK Aid and other donors this year. WFP has provided more than 17 million people with emergency food and nutrition assistance, as well as cash transfers that allow people to have the freedom of choice to meet their families’ most urgent needs.

“UK Aid’s support to desperate Afghans has been invaluable,” says Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP Country Director for Afghanistan. “Not only does Afghanistan face a number of challenges within its borders, but global food supply problems are worsening due to the conflict in Ukraine and rising prices are compressing relief efforts and weighing down the economic burden of the population. The Afghan economy is reeling from a crisis on many levels, and we are very grateful to the UK for its role in helping people like Alia and her family feel some hope for their future.

“Season After Season of Loss”

In the eastern province of Khost, 13-year-old Asefullah says her family is all about survival – only her older brother has a job to support the family of seven. He earns enough to buy bread and nothing else. Asefullah says WFP food has helped keep her family alive for the past nine months. “If we didn’t receive help, we would face many problems,” he says.

“We see losses season after season,” McGroarty said. “It’s something that stays with me and all of our staff working across the country. People have lost their livelihoods; their sons and daughters have lost their childhoods. Girls stand to lose so many educational gains that were hard-won victories.”

She adds: “We have to educate them, otherwise who will be the future midwives, teachers and doctors? WFP is committed to supporting the people of Afghanistan in every way possible, from distributing emergency food and cash, to resilience efforts with local farmers, to vocational training for women and food children’s school. Our donors are the real backbone to allow our work to continue in the months to come. »

WFP needs $1.4 billion to support around 23 million Afghans through the end of 2022. Read more about WFP’s work in Afghanistan.

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