Food for Afghan Schoolchildren Runs Out as Drought Strikes

How can we expect to write the peace without basic food and education for Afghan children? Low funding for WFP has forced the reduction of school feeding programs in Afghanistan. (WFP/Ebadullah Ebadi)

As drought and high food prices have descended upon Afghanistan, safety nets have been taken away from children. Low funding for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) means 1.5 million Afghan children are no longer receiving a school feeding ration.

The situation is getting worse. WFP reports that the supply of fortified high energy biscuits for Afghan school children will run out by November. This will bring a halt to school feeding in Afghanistan and leave another 500,000 children without a school meal. A donation from India is expected to arrive in December, but this will allow for only a limited resumption of the program.

WFP depends entirely on voluntary donations by the international community. Since funding has run dry, all year they have been forced to reduce their school feeding and other food aid programs in Afghanistan.

While they have done this, drought conditions have set in around parts of the country causing food shortages. High food prices remain a threat to the entire impoverished Afghan population.

While hunger escalates in Afghanistan and around the world, the U.S. Congress is proposing reducing funding for the Food for Peace and other global hunger fighting programs.

Food is desperately needed right now in Afghanistan. The international community needs to support urgent food aid for the drought-affected areas. School feeding should be resumed at once and expanded where possible.

Afghanistan’s future cannot be built upon hunger, suffering, and a lack of education. Child feeding programs take on the utmost urgency as malnutrition and lack of education threaten an entire generation of Afghans.

Article first published as Food for Afghan Schoolchildren Runs Out as Drought Strikes on Blogcritics.

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