Photo: World Food Programme in Afghanistan via X

WFP Distributed Aid to 8 million People in Afghanistan Last Month

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – As Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis continues, the World Food Program (WFP) reports that it provided cash-based transfers and nutritional assistance to 7.9 million people only in January. The organization says its target was to help 8.2 million people.

In its latest report, WFP announced that it distributed 38.408 metric tons of food and $21.01 million in cash-based transfers, reaching 392,243 school boys and girls with on-site and take-home ration support.

After the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the humanitarian situation in the country has deteriorated significantly, making it one of the world’s most critical crises. According to the UN, now more than two-third of the population require urgent humanitarian assistance.

WFP says that currently, around 16 million people in Afghanistan do not know where their next meal will come from, and 4 million children, breastfeeding, and pregnant women are malnourished.

The primary factor, according to the UN, driving the crisis includes challenging economic conditions, high unemployment rates, reduced livelihood opportunities, and decreased remittances.

Additionally, the adverse impact of extreme and volatile climatic conditions, particularly the multi-year drought experienced between 2021 and 2023, still lingers.

“Afghanistan received less than half the expected rainfall over the last four months and temperatures continue to increase. The lack of snowfall in January is also an ominous sign of the worsening climatic and drought conditions.” noted WFP,

 Moreover, other natural hazards like flooding and earthquakes exacerbated the already limited coping capacity of the population, leading to the continued presence of severe food insecurity in the country.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), between November 2023 to March 2024, a further deterioration in food insecurity is expected, with the number of people in Phase 3 (crisis) or above likely to rise to 15.8 million, including about 3.6 million people in Phase 4 (Emergency).

Meanwhile, humanitarian agencies have been struggling with a significant funding shortfall for the past two years, as global attention remains primarily focused on the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine.

The UN says that this critical funding shortfall is one of the worst in recent years, significantly hindering the organization’s capacity to deliver aid to the most vulnerable individuals.

Last year, WFP reported that   around 10 million people in Afghanistan lost access to vital food assistance between May and November 2023 due to shortage of resources.

In its latest report, WFP said that it requires $1.98 billion to deliver emergency food, nutrition and livelihood support to those most in need. Additionally, it needs $759 million in funding to sustain operations over next six months (February to July). 

It seems unlikely for the organization to meet its funding target. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said recently that the UN has secured only 3 percent of its annual funding appeal for Afghanistan.