Afghan Government, UN launch $76.4million drought appeal
Kabul, July 25, 2006 (UNAMA) -To support the urgent needs of more than 2.5 million peopled affected by drought and food insecurity, the Government of Afghanistan and the United Nations today launched an appeal for nearly $76.4 million, covering an initial period of six months.
"This year's drought could be much worse than in previous years," warned Afghanistan's Vice-President, Mohammad Karim Khalili, speaking to reporters at a press conference this morning. Joining him at the launch were government ministers, including those responsible for agriculture and rural development, as well as representatives of the United Nations family in Afghanistan.
The country is facing an imminent food crisis due to inadequate rainfall in April and May and an expected shortfall in this year's rain-fed wheat harvest.
The possible impacts of the drought include families consuming their harvest much sooner than usual, leading to steadily increasing malnutrition, as well as consuming seeds before next year's planting season.
In addition, animals and household assets will be sold, and an increase in poppy cultivation could be seen in parts of the country.
"It's not just a question of lack of rain,â€ stated Christopher Alexander, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General. "It's a question of livelihoods being in jeopardy, children being unable to continue their study, people selling their livestockâ€¦ families having to moveâ€¦ This is a human crisis. These are real, acute, basic human needs that need to be addressed now."
Priority needs under the appeal are for 67,000 tonnes of cereals, 14,500 tonnes of other commodities and up to 26,140 tonnes of feed concentrate. In addition, 4,500 tonnes of high quality autumn and spring seeds are requested with 6,750 tonnes of fertilizer.
Support is also requested for emergency water supplies, strategic water points, communicable diseases control and nutritional interventions. In addition, an emergency employment component forms part of the appeal to initiate cash for work programmes to rehabilitate rural infrastructure and enhance local purchasing power.
The Emergency Response Commission of the Government will lead the drought response process, with the support of designated ministries, the United Nations and international partners.