WFP dispatches wheat to Afghanistan via Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: In order to avert a serious humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced on Monday that it has started dispatching wheat flour from Pakistan, as the latest assessment report says some 22.8 million people in Afghanistan face acute food insecurity.

The wheat has been milled and fortified in Pakistan to improve the nutritional value for consumers. WFP’s first consignment of wheat flour is being transported from Multan city to Jalalabad via Peshawar, and about 200 trucks carrying 10,000 metric tons of wheat flour will leave from Pakistan to Afghanistan in the coming days, WFP said in a statement issued on Monday.

The Pakistan government is supporting WFP operations to address critical food shortages in Afghanistan as the country faces a rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis. Without immediate humanitarian action, the situation will quickly become a matter of life or death, according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) assessment.

The combined impacts of drought, conflict, COVID-19 and the economic crisis, have severely affected lives, livelihoods, and people’s access to food. The report’s findings come as Afghanistan’s harsh winter looms, threatening to cut off areas of the country where families desperately depend on humanitarian assistance to survive the freezing winter months.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report has found that more than one in two Afghans will be facing crisis or emergency levels of acute food insecurity through the November 2021 to March 2022 lean season, requiring urgent humanitarian interventions to meet basic food needs, protect livelihoods and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.

“WFP Pakistan has worked closely with the ministries of national food Security and commerce to procure and secure the earliest dispatch of the wheat flour to Afghanistan”, said Chris Kaye, WFP Pakistan’s Representative and Country Director, Chris Kaye. “WFP’s food assistance to the Afghan people now is a critical life-saver. It will reduce the likelihood of people having to migrate to survive,” he said.

In addition to providing a vital source of food commodities, Pakistan provides a vital corridor for humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people from the rest of the world. WFP and other humanitarian organizations rely on the efficient clearance and movement of shipments through Karachi port and onwards through the Chaman and Torkham border crossing.

The government is also facilitating UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) operations between Islamabad-Kabul. The air-bridge serves as a vital component in supporting assistance efforts into and across Afghanistan by the humanitarian community.

“Pakistan’s support for WFP’s work in Afghanistan is vital. We are very appreciative of the assistance we have received so far,” added Kaye.

Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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