MSF has already shipped 65 tonnes of wheat to Northern Afghanistan, stocking operations for the coming winter, where the nutritional situation continues to be precarious and could deteriorate rapidly. The supplies will be used to supplement MSF nutritional programmes in the region. An additional 535 tonnes of wheat, corn-soy blend, and oil have been sent to the region and should arrive over the coming weeks.
This year there was sufficient rain for cultivating the land. There has been a harvest, however that was not enough to build up new stock. There are also regions in Afghanistan which are still in the grip of a drought. Very little can be grown in these areas. The population there is completely reliant on food aid from the international community to survive.
Today, there are more Afghans living in Afghanistan than a year ago, many of them dependent on food aid. MSF is currently providing therapeutic and supplementary feeding to vulnerable populations in Afghanistan. Over the last few months, MSF admitted around 3,500 children and 1,500 lactating women in the ten supplementary feeding centers that it runs in the north of the country.
By the end of this year, close to 2 million Afghans will have returned from Iran, Pakistan and Central Asia. Today in Kabul, people are faced with huge problems in terms of housing , hygiene, health care and food supplies. Already before the mass return started, half of the population in the Afghan capital was living below the poverty thresh-hold. It is not exceptional to see up to four families sharing a two-room apartment, or for people to squat in the city’s ruins in deplorable hygienic conditions.
"Because people lost or sold off their livestock, they are left without milk or money to supplement their diet – many do not consume sufficient vitamins and micro-nutrients", said Marc Joolen, MSF operational coordinator. "Over the last two years we have detected several cases of scurvy due to poor diet."
In spite of the immense needs, food aid pledges remain half what is required for next year and the World Food Program (WFP) has serious problems to maintain its food pipeline. The insecurity and difficult accessibility of the country add to the problem of bringing aid to the Afghan population.
It is not exceptional to see up to four families sharing a two-room apartment, or for people to squat in the city’s ruins in deplorable hygienic conditions.