Speed Reads

crisis in afghanistan

Humanitarian agencies are struggling to get food into Afghanistan

With half of Afghanistan's population relying on humanitarian aid before the Taliban took control of the government this month, United Nations agencies are worried about getting enough food, water, and medical supplies into the country before winter.

Because of the deteriorating security situation at the Kabul airport, commercial flights can't fly in, and that's holding up deliveries of surgical equipment and kits to treat severe malnutrition, the World Health Organization said on Monday. The World Food Program has been able to move some supplies into Afghanistan via border crossings in Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan.

"Winter is coming," Andrew Patterson of the World Food Program told The Guardian. "We are going into the lean season and many Afghan roads will be covered in snow. We need to get the food into our warehouses where it needs to be distributed." 

About 22,000 tons of food are now in Afghanistan, Patterson said, with 7,000 tons on the way, but in order to have enough food to last through December, 54,000 additional tons must be delivered. The program needs $200 million in funding to get more supplies into Afghanistan, and there are fears that the food will run out in September, The Guardian reports. Afghanistan lost about 40 percent of its crops this year because of severe drought, the World Food Program said, and it's estimated that half of all children under 5 in the country are malnourished.