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WFP: 14 Million Afghans ‘March towards Starvation’

The executive director of the World Food Programme David Beasley said, on Tuesday, that millions of Afghans could soon face starvation due to a combination of conflict, drought, and the coronavirus pandemic, calling on political leaders to act fast.

Speaking from Doha, Beasley said that there’s a perfect storm coming because of several years of drought, conflict, economic deterioration, compounded by Covid-19.

“The number of people marching towards starvation has spiked to now 14 million.”

Beasley went on to say that the international community faced some very difficult decisions, warning it would be “hell on earth” for the people of Afghanistan if the economic situation deteriorated.

The executive director pleaded that “the people of Afghanistan need aid now”, stressing that the number of people needing the WFP’s help could double if the international community “turns their back” on Afghans.

“The politics needs to be worked out as soon as possible.”

Beasley said he was extremely concerned about whether the food agency would raise the amount of money needed and that it hoped Qatar, other Gulf Arab states, and the United States would contribute.

If the amount of money is not provided, he stressed, the WFP would start to run out of food for Afghanistan next month and that 4 million people would be at risk if food aid could not be pre-positioned for them before winter.

Beasley also said the Taliban had guaranteed assurances to the WFP to allow its aid to continue to reach people unimpeded.

“They have thus far been cooperative. They have allowed us independence, neutrality, and impartiality.”

Earlier, the US Al-Monitor website reported that Afghanistan is one of the world’s most fragile, at-risk economies.