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FAO to assist some food insecure people across Afghanistan

10 May 2021 - 15:06
10 May 2021 - 15:06

KABUL (Pajhwok): The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is supporting FAO in its efforts to anticipate the negative effects on livestock production induced by the current La Niña weather event.

“FAO has the technical expertise and ability to timely deliver this critical assistance to the most vulnerable in rural and remote areas of Afghanistan. As we have learned from past experiences, and based on the clear evidence available, the time to act is now, before disaster strikes,” said Ramiz Alakbarov, Humanitarian and UN Resident Coordinator in Afghanistan.

“CERF funding has been key to cover large under-funded gaps in the beginning and throughout the whole pandemic, and it played a catalytical role to attract and enable further funding. Once again, CERF’s funding is generous and fast, and it comes when it is most needed,” said Rajendra Aryal, FAO Representative in Afghanistan.

Thanks to the additional USD 4.8 million provided by UN CERF, 245 000 marginal and food insecure people will be reached in 33 districts across 11 provinces of Afghanistan.

Herders and livestock owners will be provided with emergency livestock protection and cash assistance in order to safeguard their livelihoods and food and nutrition security. FAO estimates that 1 225 000 people may indirectly benefit from this intervention.

This new intervention complements other FAO ongoing operations across the country to mitigate the impact of La Niña. These efforts aim to build the necessary near-term resilience to withstand the upcoming impacts, which are expected to hit hard during the lean season, as of September-October.

Preventing a massive loss of livestock livelihoods

The complex and recurrent weather event La Niña has caused eight out of the eleven previous droughts in Afghanistan. The current drought-like conditions triggered by this weather event across the country are jeopardizing the livestock livelihoods of the most vulnerable herders and livestock owners. The lack of precipitation means lack of pasture and increased animal feed prices, according to the specialized UN agency.

Without humanitarian assistance, many livestock owners will not be able to afford the increasing prices and may be forced to go into distress sale or abandoning their rural livelihoods, resulting in a massive loss of livestock.

In order to prevent these pernicious effects, FAO’s assistance package to the most vulnerable families consists of concentrated animal feed, animal health treatment (deworming medicine) and technical training on sustainable livestock management in emergency contexts, as well as connecting herders and livestock owners to local veterinary services.

Protecting the most vulnerable and marginal rural people

Families headed by women, people with disabilities and landless farmers will also benefit from this intervention through unconditional cash transfers to cover their most immediate food needs. This cash-based assistance will be coupled with Cash-for-Work activities to rehabilitate or create 100 water infrastructures, which are key to retain and maximize the use of water in the current drought conditions induced by La Niña.

All 245 000 people directly affected by this CERF-funded intervention will also receive key protection messages related to the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse and gender-based violence, as well as sensitization on COVID-19 safety measures and livestock diseases such as food-and-mouth in order to minimize transmission.

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