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Food Shortage Alert For Central Afghanistan

Action Against Hunger Mobilizes To Bring Vital Assistance to Drought-Stricken People

For over 6 years drought has ravaged central Afghanistan, particularly the district of Hazaradjat (Dai Kundi). This year, a winter of littler snow and no rain further diminished the few remaining resources of the people of these extremely remote areas. Last June, Action Against Hunger sounded the alarm via the press about the food situation in this region. New evaluations conducted this summer in Hazaradjat have confirmed the serious concerns of humanitarian aid organization Action Against Hunger / Action Contre la Faim (ACF) and the necessity for immediate intervention.

An extremely precarious situation

Following recent evaluations in the districts of Dai Kundi and Sharestan (Hazaradjat), it was determined that the 2004 harvests will cover only 4 months worth of nutritional needs for the families of this region. In order to eat, families have no choice but to buy food at the markets -- yet 85% of the population has no access to profit-generating activities.

Facing such difficulties for years, these people have developed survival mechanisms which have now broken down, having finally reached their limits. Families have incurred debts of untenable amounts (on average 2 ½ years worth of wheat consumption), forcing them to sell their cattle and lose even more of their already meager capital (70% of the livestock has been sold).

An urgent response

To respond to the extreme vulnerability of the populations of the most affected areas of Hazardjat and to help them survive the winter, Action Against Hunger is instituting food distribution and grain programs which should benefit approximately 20,000 people. Some of these food deliveries will be made in exchange for works of public interest such as road repairs, with a view toward diminishing the isolation of this mountainous region.

Action Against Hunger in Afghanistan

Action Against Hunger has been in Afghanistan since 1995. The organization operates in the north (Mazur e Sharif), in Kabul, and in central Afghanistan (Hazaradjat). They provide programs in the treatment and prevention of malnutrition, in water and sanitation, and in health and food security, with approximately 20 foreign aid workers and 600 Afghani employees.

Action Against Hunger has been working in Hazaradjat since 1999, where they offer medical clinics and primary health centers as well as agricultural and hydraulics programs.

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