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Friday, 27 October, 2000, 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK
UN agency pleads for Afghan aid
Afghan orphans
Twelve million Afghans have been hit by drought
The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that up to a million Afghans could starve unless it receives more food aid from donors.

The WFP says it stocks are due to run out in February and it needs another 115,000 tonnes of food to continue its "life saving activities" through the next year.

Afghanistan drought
Worst drought in 30 years
At least 3m people severely affected
WFP stocks available till February
115,000 tonnes of food needed for life-saving activities
"If we do not receive new pledges this month, we will have to cut down or stop our operations in Afghanistan at a time when Afghans will be in the midst of the pre-harvest hungry season," the WFP's country director Gerard van Dijk said.

Afghanistan is facing its worst drought in three decades, which has affected up to 12m people.

The WFP wants to feed the 3m worst affected.

The agency made a special appeal in the summer, but says it has received pledges for only half the assistance needed.

"The devastating drought has forced us to accelerate deliveries of food and our resources are fast depleting," Mr van Dijk was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

He said the situation could get worse from February if fresh food stock did not arrive.

Agriculture dependant

More than four-fifths of the Afghan population is completely dependent on farming to survive, eating what they produce.

Afghan market
Most Afghans rely on subsistence farming
Alternative employment is virtually impossible to find.

Many families can no longer afford to buy food. They have already sold off their livestock and household goods.

That means they have no food coming in until next year's harvest in June.

As the main supplier of food aid in Afghanistan, the WFP is extremely worried that people could starve this winter without more international assistance.

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See also:

02 Oct 00 | South Asia
Afghans die of drought
05 Oct 00 | South Asia
Tax relief for Afghan drought farmers
10 Oct 00 | South Asia
Ceasefire for Afghan polio campaign
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