After feeding snowbound Afghans UN agency shifts gear to aid floodstricken

After weeks of struggling to provide food to more than 100,000 snowbound Afghans, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is shifting gear in step with the weather to help tens of thousands of people now facing floods from melting snow and torrential rains.With rivers bursting their banks, roads damaged and villages flooded in various parts of the country after its severest winter in two decades, WFP is preparing an immediately distribution of wheat, rice and pulses to some 5,000 people in southwest Farah province, with contingency plans ready for other regions.“Even before the snow began to melt, WFP warned of possible floods and has since been preparing assistance to flood prone areas,” the agency’s Deputy Country Director Michael Jones said.Following a flash flood in Uruzgan’s Deh Rawud district on Friday, WFP delivered 230 tons of food, including 10 tons that were airlifted by coalition forces in the last two days, enough to feed 25,000 people for one month. During the winter WFP used coalition aircraft, with road convoys often being held up by snow for days on end.WFP is continuing to provide food for tens of thousands of people in areas that were snowbound only days ago in the centre and south of the country. In Ghor province, over 230 tons of food have been distributed to nearly 37,000 people so far, while the agency is preparing to deliver follow-up aid to southern Zabul province, after distributing nearly 610 tons to 67,000 people over the last month.Even before the harsh wintry weather, WFP was aiming to provide food to nearly 6 million people this year in Afghanistan, where much of the population suffers high levels of poverty, poor nutrition and limited access to education and health care.

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