KABUL – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a contribution of US$12 million from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance in support of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Afghanistan, where the public health emergency is compounded by increasing levels of food insecurity and where many communities’ livelihoods are being obliterated.
This contribution from USAID will allow WFP to provide 95,000 families affected by the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 with direct cash-transfers. Each family will receive AFN6,000 (US$79) through cashbased transfers to partially cover their food needs for two months.
“COVID-19 has disrupted the livelihoods of families across the country relying on day labour, small trade or remittances, most of all in the cities where the lockdowns have left them without opportunities to earn money to buy their next meal,” said Peter Natiello, Mission Director for USAID Afghanistan. “Through our partnership with WFP, USAID will help reach some of the most vulnerable families affected by COVID-19 in Afghanistan with food assistance.”
Vulnerable families in Herat City and the capital Kabul, the two urban centres of the country with the highest number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 and where the impact of the pandemic on the economy and individual livelihoods is being felt the most, will receive the assistance. The assistance will help keep these most vulnerable urban families from being forced to resort to negative coping mechanisms such as begging, child labour or eating fewer and smaller meals.
“We’re grateful for this generous contribution from USAID and the continued support for WFP in Afghanistan,” said WFP Afghanistan Deputy Country Director and Officer-in-Charge Robert Kasca. “This contribution comes at critical times when we are facing additional needs of US$53 million due to COVID-19. Without concerted action, Afghanistan could face its most devastating food security crisis in decades.”
At the outset of 2020, more than 12 million people were already facing acute food insecurity due to decades of conflict, natural disasters and growing poverty, according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Analysis. Now, COVID-19 leaves millions of Afghans at risk of falling into hunger, faced with unusually high food prices and reduced employment opportunities.
With the far-reaching consequences of the pandemic, WFP is further providing services in health centres and through mobile teams to prevent and treat malnutrition in girls, boys and pregnant and lactating women. Under strict precautions to quell the spread of the coronavirus, WFP is continuing asset creation activities that help food-insecure families cover their food needs and build the resilience of their communities.
Due to the impact of COVID-19 in Afghanistan, WFP is working to reach 3 million people more than initially planned, creating additional funding needs of US$53 million. In total, WFP plans to reach 10.3 million food-insecure people in 2020. Funding requirements from July to December 2020 for all of WFP’s activities in Afghanistan are US$218 million, of which US$135 million remain to be resourced.
This latest contribution from USAID follows contributions of US$49 million in 2020 and US$92 million in 2019.
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