Monday December 16, 2019

World Food Program: Funding squeeze leaves 40% of Afghans food insecure

Lack of funding from the international community, increased instability and conflicts are some of the major causes for food inacessibility

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A malnourished Afghan child, weighing 14 pounds (6.4 kg) at 18 months of age, is treated by a US Army medical team member in Paktya, Afghanistan. Source: Wikimedia commons

ISLAMABAD, September 2, 2016: The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) has warned that 40 percent of Afghanistan’s population, i.e. 11.3 million people, are food insecure, while more than 40 percent Afghani children under five years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition.

WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin issued the warning Friday at the conclusion of her four-day maiden visit to the war-ravaged country, the first by a WFP chief in 13 years, to “implore” the donor community to continue their support despite the squeeze on funding because of new global crises.

“This not the time for the international community to turn away from the needs of the people of Afghanistan,” she told reporters in Kabul.

While WFP has already reached almost two million of the most vulnerable Afghans with food and cash assistance, Cousin said, the organization needs $50 million in donor funding to reach another 1.6 million people through the end of this year.

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source: Wikipedia.org
source: Wikipedia.org

“It is the funding challenges and a turning away of the international community, or reduction in support by the international community for the activities here in Afghanistan, which will limit our ability to perform the work that is required,” Cousin said when asked what was the biggest concern for WFP’s Afghan mission.

She noted that the 3.6 million Afghans who the WFP is trying to help do not include thousands of refugee families who have returned or are in the process of returning home from neighboring Pakistan this year.

“Many of them come across with nothing, without the ability to meet the food assistance needs of their families,” said the WFP head, adding that her organization is working with other partners to meet the needs of returnees.

UN food delivery. Source: Wikipedia.org
UN food delivery. Source: Wikipedia.org

Cousin admitted that increased instability and conflict in some Afghan areas has forced WFP to suspend program operations periodically throughout the year.

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“The answer to terrorism and conflict is hope and opportunity provided by sustainable, durable economic opportunity and prosperity where every parent can access the food that they required to feed their children,” she said.

Afghanistan’s northern provinces are traditionally inaccessible for aid deliveries during winter months, and the spread of fighting to those areas in recent months has added to the challenges facing aid groups. (VOA)

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People in LMICs Face Obesity and Undernutrition: Study

Low income countries facing both obesity, malnutrition

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Due to unhealthy lifestyle, people in LMICs face highest risks of obesity as well as malnutrition. Lifetime Stock

Low-and middle-income countries have high levels of overweight and obesity along with undernutrition, say researchers, adding that these two issues have become increasingly connected.

“Our research shows that overweight and obesity levels of at least 20 per cent among adults are found in all low-income countries. Furthermore, the double burden of high levels of both undernutrition and overweight occur primarily in the lowest-income countries — a reality that is driven by the modern food system,” said study lead author Barry M. Popkin from University of North Carolina in US.

“This system has a global reach and is preventing low- and even moderate-income countries and households from consuming safe, affordable and healthy diets in a sustainable way,” Popkin added.

Globally, estimates suggest that almost 2.3 billion children and adults are overweight, and more than 150 million children are stunted.

In low- and middle-income countries, however, these emerging issues overlap in individuals, families and communities.

For the findings, the research team used survey data from low- and middle-income countries in the 1990s and 2010s to estimate which countries faced a double burden of malnutrition, meaning that, in the population, more than 15 per cent of people had wasting, more than 30 per cent were stunted, more than 20 per cent of women had thinness and more than 20 per cent of people were overweight.

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Overweight and obesity levels of at least 20 per cent among adults are found in all low-income countries. Pixabay

The results, published in the journal The Lancet, showed that more than a third of low- and middle-income countries had overlapping forms of malnutrition, 45 of 123 countries in the 1990s and 48 of 126 countries in the 2010s.

The problem was particularly common in sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia, and east Asia and the Pacific, where 29, seven and nine countries were affected, respectively.

In the 2010s, 14 countries with some of the lowest incomes in the world had newly developed a double burden of malnutrition compared with the 1990s, said the study.

However, fewer low- and middle-income countries with the highest incomes, relative to others in that category, were affected.

The authors said this reflects the increasing prevalence of people being overweight in the poorest countries, even as segments of the population still face stunting, wasting and thinness.

“The poorest low- and middle-income countries are seeing a rapid transformation in the way people eat, drink and move at work, home, in transport and in leisure,” Popkin said.

Also Read- Delhi Citizens Try out Oxygen Bar as Pollution Chokes them

According to the researchers, the new nutrition reality is driven by changes to the food system, which have increased the global availability of ultra-processed foods that are linked to weight gain while also adversely affecting infant and preschooler diets.

“These changes include disappearing fresh food markets, increasing numbers of supermarkets, and the control of the food chain by supermarkets and global food, catering and agriculture companies in many countries,” Popkin said. (IANS)