Pakistan extends humanitarian support to Afghanistan to address critical food shortage

Approximately 200 trucks carrying 10,000 MT of wheat flour will leave from Pakistan to Afghanistan in coming days

The Pakistani government is supporting United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) operations to address critical food shortages in Afghanistan as the country faced a rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis, stated WFP on Monday.

According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) assessment, some 22.8 million people in Afghanistan face acute food insecurity, including 8.7 million at emergency level (IPC Phase 4). Without immediate humanitarian action, the situation will quickly become a matter of life or death.

WFP is rapidly expanding its operations to provide emergency food assistance to the most vulnerable Afghan people. With the support of the government of Pakistan, WFP has started dispatches of wheat flour from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

The wheat has been milled and fortified in Pakistan to improve the nutritional value for consumers. WFP’s first consignment of wheat flour is being transported from Multan city in Eastern Pakistan to Jalalabad via Peshawar in Northwestern Pakistan. Approximately 200 trucks carrying 10,000 mega tonnes (Mt) of wheat flour will leave from Pakistan to Afghanistan in the coming days.

“WFP Pakistan has worked closely with the Ministry of Food Security and the Ministry of Commerce to procure and secure the earliest dispatch of the wheat flour to Afghanistan,” said Chris Kaye, WFP Pakistan’s representative and country director. “WFP’s food assistance to the Afghan people now is a critical life-saver. It will reduce the likelihood of people having to migrate to survive,” he added.

In addition to providing a vital source for food commodities, Pakistan provides a vital corridor for humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people from the rest of the world. WFP and other humanitarian organizations rely on the efficient clearance and movement of shipments through Karachi port and onwards through the Chaman and Torkham border crossings. The government is also facilitating UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) operations between Islamabad and Kabul. The air-bridge serves as a vital component in supporting assistance efforts into and across Afghanistan by the humanitarian community.

“Pakistan’s support for WFP’s work in Afghanistan is vital. We are very appreciative of the assistance we have received so far,” added Kaye.