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Millions Facing Starvation in Afghanistan as Winter Approaches, UN Says

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By Ivana Kvesic, Christian Post Reporter
November 18, 2011|12:18 pm

Millions of people in Afghanistan are set to face hunger and malnutrition this winter, following a severe drought that wiped out crops across the northern and western regions of the country.

More than half of the wheat crops in Afghanistan were destroyed due to consistently poor rains earlier in the year, and aid agencies such as Save the Children and Oxfam, have come out to warn that Afghan farming communities could face a particularly hungry winter.

Aid agencies said that 14 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces have been saddled with the worst drought the country has seen in a decade.

Many have expressed fears that, with the looming heavy winter snow, many Afghan communities will be cut off from vital food aid due to avalanches and months of isolation that occurs when heavy snowfall makes small communities inaccessible.

Food prices have soared and many families have become overwhelmed with debt trying to feed themselves.

One villager in the Bamiyan Province told the BBC's Mike Thompson, "We’ve sent so many messages to the government about our plight but they never listen. Our children could die here this winter."

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The villager also expressed her grief, saying that she already has to deny her children food and, with the looming heavy snow, that the situation is only apt to get worse.

According to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), families have even stopped sending their children to school to look for work.

Manohar Shenoy, the Afghanistan country director for Oxfam, said in a statement, "Villagers are telling us that this year the drought has destroyed everything. Their food stocks are already low, and they are worried about how they will get through the coming months."

The WFP country director, Louis Imbleau, is concerned for the well being of Afghan children and insists that malnutrition could cause permanent damage to Afghan children.

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Afghan children already have the second highest rate of under-five mortality in the world and the highest rates of stunting in the world.

Imbleau told the BBC of the looming hunger crisis, "It's very sad, it’s irreversible and should just not be allowed to happened. It should not be allowed to happen."

 

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