Afghanistan food crisis rising as supplies run low
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Journalist Jane Ferguson appeared on Good Morning Britain and explained while most of the world is focused on the evacuation efforts at Kabul airport, Afghanistan has a quiet but growing problem of food supply. She explained there is much “anxiety” surrounding a looming humanitarian crisis as a combination of factors and now the Taliban controlling where United Nations aid is sent means many Afghans could potentially starve over the next few weeks and months. Ms Ferguson added the pandemic has had a surprisingly devastating effect on Afghanistan as many people are infrequently employed and with no welfare state to support them through lockdown.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Ms Ferguson explained the country was already going through a food crisis as climate change and the pandemic has hit Afghanistan hard.
Reports also suggest food prices in towns and cities have dramatically shot up with many civilians unable to pay for them due to a money shortage.
Ms Ferguson explained the situation and said: “I see anxiety about the coming humanitarian crisis around food.
“Long before this was happening there was a major food shortage as a result of drought, as a result of the currency reducing, Covid really hit this country very hard because most people are informally employed.
“So they’re just living hand to mouth day-to-day so lockdowns devastated people.
“So people are very hungry, there’s a lot of food insecurity and so what is really complicated right now is trying to figure out with the food issues that are going on across the country how are the aid agencies going to get in and feed people?
“Traditionally the UN hasn’t been able to operate in Taliban-controlled areas fully, they’ve been attacked by the Taliban.
“So if you’re looking at the United Nations and various aid agencies that would normally go in and handle these same kinds of crisis, how are they going to be able to do that, they’re not sure.”
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According to World Food Programme, 14 million Afghans do not know where or when their next meal will come from.
Since the Taliban takeover several weeks ago, banks have remained shut as many struggle to get enough money together to pay for the inflated food prices.
Money sending services like Western Union are also not running meaning some families who get overseas support have now been locked out.
The UK announced earlier this year that the foreign aid budget would be cut from 0.7 percent of GDP to 0.5 percent in order to address the economic impact left behind from the pandemic.
Despite facing an internal Tory revolt, the UK Government pushed ahead with the cut but now have faced calls to increase the support sent to Afghanistan.
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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK would “double” the amount of aid it sends to Afghanistan as UK troops and personnel help the US with the evacuation efforts there.
According to Al Jazeera, low-level government workers in Afghanistan have gone months without pay with some public servants unable to carry out their duties and therefore also get paid.
A former policeman told the publisher: “I am totally lost, I don’t know what should I think about first, my safety and survival or feeding my kids and family
“I’m living in a rental apartment, I have not paid the owner for the past three months.”
Basic food items such as flour and oil have seen their prices rise by around 20 per cent during the weeks of the Taliban takeover.
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