WFP director for Afghanistan warns of “tsunami of hunger’
KABUL (Pajhwok): World Food Director for Afghanistan Ellen McGroarty has warned of ‘Tsunami of hunger’ in Afghanistan due to the shortage of funds, according to a media report on Friday.
Funds needed to keep the supply of food intact as country teeters on the edge of economic run with more than half of the population struggling to eat this winter, she said.
In an interview with The Associated Press, WFP leader in Afghanistan Mary-Ellen McGroarty urged the international community to put humanitarian necessity above political discussions and avoid disaster by making sure that billions in aid keep reaching the Taliban-run country.
According to the UN humanitarian organization, 22.8 million people face acute food shortages, including 8.7 million close to starvation.
“We don’t have enough money going into 2022,” said McGroarty during a stop in Brussels. “What we call all the humanitarian sector in Afghanistan needs 4.4 four billion dollars for the next 12 months to mount a comprehensive response. And for WFP, we need 2.6 billion to do the minimum we need to be doing in 2022.”
McGroarty said she recently met with old farmers during a trip to the northeastern province of Badakhshan, who told her they have never been confronted to such an ordeal despite the experience of living through 19 governments.
“They have never before, despite the decades of conflict, had to stand in a line with their hands out for for humanitarian support,” she said. “This is the first time ever for them, and they told me the hunger is worse than the conflict that they have lived through over five decades.”
McGroarty urged the international community to keep sending money to Afghanistan, insisting that funding can get into the country independently from the Taliban.
McGroarty said the WFP managed to distribute food in key locations across the northeast and central highlands of the country in prevision of the winter months. But she said the winter snows have already started to block some of country’s major roads, making the need for aid even more urgent.
“Can you imagine not being able to feed your young children? And you can also imagine not being able to keep those young children also warm?,” McGroarty said. “It’s unimaginable suffering and the support is required today to avert some of that unimaginable suffering.”
McGroarty said Afghans now face the choice of either starving or leaving their country.
“It’s one step away from a catastrophe,” she said.