Food aid needed for 3 million more Afghans amid drought: WFP

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Up to three million more Afghans will need food aid by autumn as a drought leads to food shortages, the World Food Programme said Wednesday.

"The main wheat production in the north and north-west, that's where this crop failure occurred," said Bradley Guerrant, the UN food agency's deputy director in Afghanistan.

"They have failed both to late rain as well as insufficient rain," he added.

Local government estimates suggest that the overall harvest would be about 28 percent lower than a year ago.

While some of the shortfall could be made up by imports from the private sector, government reserves and a donation from India, about 300,000 metric tons will remain uncovered.

This shortfall would come on top of the regular food aid needed to feed about seven million people in the country.

The WFP noted that the budget to feed those already in receipt of aid is running $202 million short this year, but "additional resources may be necessary" to meet needs arising from this year's drought.

© 2011 AFP

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