By Barron Segar
As I’ve watched and read reports from Afghanistan this week, one thought stuck with me: the tide of hunger looming in the wake of this conflict.
We know we must stave off hunger to prevent the nation from further unraveling. One in three people in Afghanistan already faces the vicious effects of hunger as back-to-back droughts have devastated the country’s crops. What’s more, the conflict has displaced thousands of people from their homes all while the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic carry on.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has been in Afghanistan for more than 60 years, and it will continue to provide unconditional food assistance to vulnerable groups despite the recent turmoil. Already in the first six months of this year, we delivered food and nutrition assistance to 5.5 million people, including those newly displaced by fighting. In the face of immense security and logistics challenges, the U.N. World Food Programme maintains access to most of the country, including areas experiencing active fighting, and is committed to staying and delivering food.
Through our commitment to Afghanistan, we will do everything we can to reach vulnerable families in their time of great need. But we can’t do it without the support of donors. Please join us as we work to feed millions of vulnerable people.
The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
World Food Program USA, a 501©(3) organization based in Washington, DC, proudly supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme by mobilizing American policymakers, businesses and individuals to advance the global movement to end hunger. Our leadership and support help to bolster an enduring American legacy of feeding families in need around the world. To learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission, please visit wfpusa.org/about-us.
Senior Manager, Public Relations
KABUL – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a contribution of $12 million from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance in support of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Afghanistan, where the public health emergency is compounded by increasing levels of food insecurity and where many communities’ livelihoods are being obliterated.
This contribution from USAID will allow the U.N. World Food Programme to provide 95,000 families affected by the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 with direct cash-transfers. Each family will receive $79 through cash-based transfers to partially cover their food needs for two months.
“COVID-19 has disrupted the livelihoods of families across the country relying on day labour, small trade or remittances, most of all in the cities where the lockdowns have left them without opportunities to earn money to buy their next meal,” said Peter Natiello, Mission Director for USAID Afghanistan. “Through our partnership with WFP, USAID will help reach some of the most vulnerable families affected by COVID-19 in Afghanistan with food assistance.”
Vulnerable families in Herat City and the capital Kabul, the two urban centers of the country with the highest number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 and where the impact of the pandemic on the economy and individual livelihoods is being felt the most, will receive the assistance. The assistance will help keep these most vulnerable urban families from being forced to resort to negative coping mechanisms such as begging, child labor or eating fewer and smaller meals.
“We’re grateful for this generous contribution from USAID and the continued support for WFP in Afghanistan,” said U.N. World Food Programme Afghanistan Deputy Country Director and Officer-in-Charge Robert Kasca. “This contribution comes at critical times when we are facing additional needs of $53 million due to COVID-19. Without concerted action, Afghanistan could face its most devastating food security crisis in decades.”
At the outset of 2020, more than 12 million people were already facing acute food insecurity due to decades of conflict, natural disasters and growing poverty, according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Analysis. Now, COVID-19 leaves millions of Afghans at risk of falling into hunger, faced with unusually high food prices and reduced employment opportunities.
With the far-reaching consequences of the pandemic, the U.N. World Food Programme is further providing services in health centers and through mobile teams to prevent and treat malnutrition in girls, boys and pregnant and lactating women. Under strict precautions to quell the spread of the coronavirus, the U.N. World Food Programme is continuing asset creation activities that help food-insecure families cover their food needs and build the resilience of their communities.
Due to the impact of COVID-19 in Afghanistan, the U.N. World Food Programme is working to reach 3 million people more than initially planned, creating additional funding needs of $53 million. In total, the U.N. World Food Programme plans to reach 10.3 million food-insecure Afghan people in 2020. Funding requirements from July to December 2020 for all of the U.N. World Food Programme’s activities in Afghanistan are $218 million, of which $135 million remain to be resourced.
This latest contribution from USAID follows contributions of $49 million in 2020 and $92 million in 2019.
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The U.N. World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA @wfp_media @wfp_AsiaPacific
- Wahid Amani, WFP/Kabul, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. +93 70 600 48 84
- Philippe Kropf, WFP/Kabul, email@example.com, Tel. +93 70 600 52 44
Rome – Escalating hunger needs in sub-Saharan Africa dominate a World Food Programme (WFP) analysis of global hunger hotspots in the first half of 2020 with millions of people requiring life-saving food assistance in Zimbabwe, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central Sahel region in the coming months.
The sheer scale and complexity of the challenges in Africa and other regions will stretch the resources and capacity of WFP and other agencies to the limit. Ramping up the humanitarian response will again require the generous support of donor governments to fund the assistance required to save lives and support development.
“WFP is fighting big and complex humanitarian battles on several fronts at the start of 2020,” said David Beasley, Executive Director of WFP. “In some countries, we are seeing conflict and instability combine with climate extremes to force people from their homes, farms and places of work. In others, climate shocks are occurring alongside economic collapse and leaving millions on the brink of destitution and hunger.”
The WFP 2020 Global Hotspots Report highlights grave challenges in sub-Saharan Africa over the next six months with Zimbabwe, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central Sahel region standing out when it comes to the needs of hungry children, women and men. The WFP report notes that amidst an imploding economy, the situation in Zimbabwe is increasingly precarious as the country enters the peak of its “lean season” when food is at its most scarce and the number of hungry people has reached its highest point in a decade. WFP is planning assistance for more than 4 million people in Zimbabwe as concerns grow that the impact of a regional drought could drag yet more countries down in the first months of the year.
“Last year, WFP was called upon to bring urgent large-scale relief to Yemen, Mozambique after Cyclone Idai, Burkina Faso and many other crises to avert famine,” said Margot Van Der Velden, WFP Director of Emergencies. “But the world is an unforgiving place and as we turn the page into 2020 WFP is confronting new, monumental humanitarian challenges that we need to address with real urgency.”
- A rapidly evolving crisis in Haiti is of deep concern at the turn of the year as escalating unrest paralyzes the economy, driving food prices out of reach of many people (+40% between October 2018 and October 2019). According to a recent IPC survey on food insecurity, this has left 3.7 million people – or one-third of the population – in need of assistance
- In Asia, Afghanistan faces insecurity combined with drought, leaving more than 11 million people – over a third of the country’s population – severely food insecure.
- In the Middle East, WFP can look back on its success in Yemen where it scaled up by 50% from providing food assistance to 8 million people a month at the beginning of 2018 to 12 million by the end of the year.
- As it looks forward into 2020, WFP remains alert to growing food needs in Iraq and Lebanon, where civil unrest and macro-economic crisis are leading to an increase in food insecurity.
WFP estimates it will require more than $10 billion to fully fund all its operations in more than 80 countries around the world in 2020.
“Every year at WFP we plan ahead for the next 12 months and ask for support from the generous governments, private sector institutions and members of the public who help us reach our humanitarian and development goals,” said Beasley.“ As an agency that depends entirely on voluntary donations, we have a responsibility to show WFP can continue to be the most efficient and effective global organization delivering the kind of food assistance that saves lives and changes lives across the world.”
Photos of Hunger Hotspot countries available here.
The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, natural disasters and the impact of climate change.
Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA and @wfp_media
For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org): Steve Taravella, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1 202 653 1149, Mob. +1 202 770 5993
What’s your average day like?
Preparing reports on the delivery of food and other supplies—including the type and amount of dispatched food, the expiration dates, intended destination and so on—preparing documents explaining where and when the convoys should move, supervising the milling, supervising the loading and unloading of food, helping with fumigation exercises, and doing stock-counting.
What’s the most common misconception about your job?
That food can be released and distributed whenever needed, without logisticians being given enough time to carry out the required processes. Also, some people believe that it is up to us logisticians at the warehouse to decide who food is distributed to.
What has been one of the highlights during your time at WFP?
When we had to do multi-tasking due to a shortage of staff, and with food arriving from abroad through one of the corridors we’re using in Afghanistan. We sent food to projects and to WFP offices in other regions, and took care of milling process and the stock count…phew! There are many highlights that I could mention!
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Assisting and helping the most vulnerable people in the country.
What’s the most frustrating part of your job?
The negative attitude and behavior towards me as a female logistician, especially when I’m working with a group of male laborers and truck drivers during loading and unloading exercises.
What do you wish people understood about your job?
That it is part of a process that leads to smooth and prompt food dispatch. It may not sound so moving and interesting, but in fact it’s one of those jobs that significantly matters in ensuring food reaches the hands of the poor.
What are the main attributes you need to for this kind of role?
Technical and linguistic skills, which can help me improve and perform a better-quality job. It’s important to be aware of training opportunities therefore.
Any additional insights you’d like to add?
That the job itself involves dealing with other logisticians, truck drivers and workers, to ensure food is stored and dispatched appropriately. Beyond this though, as a human being, it is like fulfilling a responsibility towards your fellow people as a humanitarian worker and ensuring they receive assistance for their sufferings.