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In the grip of hunger: only 5 percent of Afghan families have enough to eat

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WFP racing against clock to provide most vulnerable with life-saving food - but funding is short

As the harsh Afghan winter looms closer, recent surveys conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP) have revealed that only five percent of families have enough to eat every day, while half reported they had run out of food altogether at least once in the past two weeks.

For the first time, urban residents are suffering from food insecurity at similar rates to rural communities, which have been ravaged by drought twice in the past three years. The situation is also dire among the middle classes, who used to be able to feed their families every day.

Due to the combined effects of unemployment, a drop in the value of the local currency and a rise in prices – cooking oil has almost doubled in price since 2020, and wheat is up by 28 percent – only 10 percent of families headed by someone with a secondary or university education can afford sufficient food.

So far this year, WFP has provided 6.4 million people with food assistance, including more than 1.4 million people since the Taliban takeover on 15 August.

Throughout the difficult past two months, WFP has continued school feeding programmes, helping to keep boys and girls in school and staving off malnutrition, bolstering the local economy when food is produced and purchased locally, creating stable markets, supporting local agriculture, and strengthening local food systems.

To address the nutritional needs of young children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, ten WFP trucks reached Afghanistan on 21 September through the Chaman-Spin Boldak border with Pakistan. The convoy carried urgently needed nutrition supplements to be distributed in Kandahar and Herat.

“WFP is racing against the clock to provide life-saving food and nutrition assistance to the most vulnerable Afghan families. We urgently need US$200 million to buy and pre-position food before the winter sets in – if we miss this window the consequences will be catastrophic,” said McGroarty.