WACO, Texas — Vulnerable, hungry Afghans displaced by natural disasters and internal conflict were substantially aided as a result of food assistance from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in early 2016. An estimated 365,000 people in Afghanistan without food security were assisted by the World Food Programme (WFP), thanks to a donation of $14 million from USAID.
According to USAID, “food assistance efforts are an expression of the compassion and goodwill of the people of the U.S. The lifesaving assistance [provided]can also help to stabilize crisis situations,” which reflects the mission statement of the food assistance from USAID development programs funded throughout the world in an effort to alleviate crises which cause global hunger.
Claude Jibidar, a World Food Programme Representative and Country Director for Afghanistan summarized the effects of the $14 million in this statement: “[This donation] allows WFP to work faster and smarter… because the contribution gives WFP the flexibility to purchase food stocks locally, reducing transport costs and lead times” and reach the estimated 365,000 hungry Afghans.
In the desperate fight against hunger and malnutrition in at-risk areas, USAID deeply values their partnership with the WFP to ensure that affected Afghans receive assistance, according to USAID Afghanistan Mission Director Herbert Smith. In fact, almost 50 percent of resources for the WFP come from USAID donations like this recent $14 million gift. Without USAID, the WFP would not be considered “the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.” The program assists approximately 80 million people in 75 different countries, and much of this success can be attributed to the backing of USAID throughout recent years.
Back in February of 2015, the United States pledged to donate $33.8 million in food assistance for Afghans in support of the WFP’s Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO). The goal last year was to reach over 3.7 million hungry Afghans in 184 different districts. Additionally, the funds were given for the purposes of “[supporting]communities to recuperate from both natural and economic disasters, treatment of malnourished children, pregnant and lactating women and the education of primary and lower secondary school students remain priorities for the U.S. in Afghanistan.” More good news for the WFP came early this year with the $14 million donated to the program.
An additional $5 million was gifted to the U.N. Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) which is a subset of the WFP to better reach those in need, as access to food can be challenging in the complex security environment within the country. The Humanitarian Air Service “enables development and humanitarian stakeholders to safely access program sites and beneficiaries nationwide… [and provides]crucial means of transportation to allow humanitarians to get to areas which may not be accessible by road, in a fast, safe and adaptable manner,” according to USAID.
Before the end of 2016, more than 400,000 internally displaced people will receive food assistance in Afghanistan. Up to 3.9 million people without food security will receive assistance from WFP through additional nutrition support, disaster risk reduction activities, school meal take-home rations and food or cash compensation for people affected.
Overall, the $19 million donation from USAID sheds light on global poverty and world hunger by beginning to alleviate the effects of food insecurity in Afghanistan. The good news is that food assistance from USAID will save the lives of those in crisis and help the most vulnerable break the cycle of poverty and hunger by supporting livelihood.
– Hailey Visscher