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Afghanistan Strategy Falling Apart with Food Shortages

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In Afghanistan, hunger and malnutrition are widespread, yet funding for food aid programs is dismal. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) wants to feed about 7.3 million needy Afghans in the conflict-torn country.

But WFP says it “faces significant funding shortages in 2011…and is urging donors to provide the US$132 million required to continue its lifesaving food assistance through to the end of July.”

 

Over 7 million people are in need of food aid in Afghanistan (WFP/Maarten Roest).


A report from the UN Secretary General stated, “Current shortfalls affect all programmes, including school feeding, training and vocational initiatives and the food-for-work programme. If additional support cannot be obtained, WFP will have to cut planned food distribution activities throughout Afghanistan.”

These funding shortages also impact the supply of supplementary plumpy, a special peanut paste that can save Afghan infants from potentially deadly malnutrition.

The Aschiana Foundation, a charity which aids street children in Kabul, cannot provide food at one of its centers because of lack of funding. A complete ration program is needed for street children in the country but it’s another hunger issue being largely ignored by the international community.

What’s missing in the Afghanistan strategy is the realization that food is the foundation for all other objectives in the country. Without food, children suffer stunted growth in body and mind and they cannot get an education. Adults without enough food cannot work effectively and certainly won’t develop an appetite for democracy. In short, food is a building block for peace.

It’s through food stability that longer-term projects aimed at self-sufficiency can go forward. You need to have effective interim aid to precede longer-term recovery.

But where is the U.S. leadership in rallying the international community to meet this crisis? The President and the Congress should take responsibility for this and make fighting hunger a top priority for 2011 in Afghanistan and beyond. It’s the only road to peace.

See also Food and Hope for Street Children in Afghanistan.

About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.