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Friday, 16 November, 2001, 18:22 GMT
UN 'winning battle' against famine
Afghan child in Quetta
UN says enough food is getting in to stave off famine
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says it is winning the battle to get enough food aid into Afghanistan to feed the six million Afghans who most need it.

WFP director Catherine Bertini said the agency had met its monthly target for food convoys into the country for the first time.

She also welcomed the deployment of British and French troops in Afghanistan, saying secure conditions were the most important factor in the race to get humanitarian help to Afghans suffering from war and the worst drought in living memory.

Aid for Afghanistan is being stockpiled in Termez
Supplies piling up at the Afghan-Uzbek border
Earlier, the aid agency Oxfam called for an immediate airlift of food into Afghanistan because of the continuing insecurity of land routes.

UN aid agencies say they have begun sending international staff back into the country for the first time since the American-led air strikes on Afghanistan began.

But the breakdown in law and order and reports of looting in some areas has meant that UN food convoys have not left from Pakistan in the past three days.

Getting supplies to certain north-west provinces, such as Badghis and Ghor, is almost impossible.

Military help

Oxfam said it wanted airlifts of food to be carried out as soon as possible.

And as a last resort, the military could even be involved.

The spokesman said the announcement that British troops had arrived at Bagram to look at turning the airport into a hub for humanitarian relief flights was encouraging, but the project could take weeks.

A spokeswoman for the World Food Programme said supplies were coming in from other countries including Uzbekistan, and they already had some stocks.

She said they would assess the situation next week and discuss other options including airlifts.

See also:

13 Nov 01 | South Asia
New wave of refugees feared
12 Nov 01 | South Asia
UN prepares major Afghan relief effort
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