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$17m aid earmarked to help drought victims

AT-KABUL: The Common Humanitarian Fund has allocated $17 million to non-governmental organizations and UN agencies delivering life-saving aid to families affected by the drought that has gripped large parts of Afghanistan.

“Now is the time to help. Without quick action the number of families and the gravity of suffering will grow exponentially,” said Toby Lanzer, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan. “The drought afflicts some two million people across the north and west of the country where the latest harvest was lost and tens of thousands of families urgently need help.”

The emergency assistance will include: cash for families to buy food on local markets; trucking of drinking water to villages and schools where fountains have dried up; and treatment of malnourished girls and boys.

“We aim to reach communities with the highest needs wherever they are, and I call on parties to the conflict to enable our work so that families can stay home, close to their fields and to keep their children at school,” continued Lanzer.

Aid agencies link humanitarian action and development for example by supporting the authorities to: rehabilitate existing boreholes thereby reducing the cost of water trucking; and protect livelihoods of drought-affected families by providing animal fodder and drought-resistant seeds.

“UN agencies work as one and coordinate closely with relevant authorities, in particular the ministries of agriculture and health,” said Lanzer.

In support of Afghanistan, the UN revised its Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) calling for an additional $117 million in 2018.

The CHF, backed by donors such as Qatar, Sweden and the United Kingdom, is a key source of quick funding and complements resources from other donors such as Japan, the United States and the European Commission.

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