UN: Nearly half of Afghan rural population face food insecurity

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UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Nearly half of Afghanistan’s rural population faces a level of food insecurity caused by a historic drought and the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, a UN agency said on Monday.

The latest drought, described by some locals as the worst they have experienced in their lives, has had devastating effects on rural populations last year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in a report on relief operations in Afghanistan in 2018.

“With crop failure, limited water supply, increasing undernourishment and disease, hundreds of thousands have left their homes and sought refuge in areas close to large cities in search of help,” FAO said.

Their misery has been compounded by heavy rains in the spring that have led to deadly floods in many states in Afghanistan.

The number of people needing a form of assistance in Afghanistan rose from 3.3 million at the beginning of last year to the current level of 13.5 million, or 47 percent of the population, starting in February 2019, according to the organization.

This group has been affected to varying degrees, but there is no group at risk of direct famine, although crop failure in 2019 could change that, FAO said.

Humanitarian aid groups also reached some 6.5 million people last year with a budget of $ 471 million.

Despite the impact of the drought, conflict remains the biggest cause of humanitarian needs in Afghanistan last year, according to the organization.

According to the United Nations killed 3804 civilians – including more than 900 children – in Afghanistan in 2018, and injured 7189 others, to be the deadliest year to date.

“The increase in incidents leading to mass casualties and the escalation of hostilities and the risk of unexploded ordnance contributed to record numbers of cases in 2018,” the statement said.

Other Afghan factors returning from Iran after the economic slowdown there are the new US sanctions that have reduced demand for Afghan workers.

While the number of Afghans returning from Pakistan has fallen to a record low of 46,300 in 2018, 775,000 Afghans returned from Iran in the same year.

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