Afghans facing hunger crisis as food stocks run low

The United Nations’ stockpiles of food in Afghanistan could run out this month, a senior official warned Wednesday, threatening to add a hunger crisis to the challenges facing the country’s new Taliban rulers as they try to restore stability after decades of war.

About one third of the country’s population of 38 million doesn’t know if they will have a meal every day, according to Ramiz Alakbarov, the U.N.’s humanitarian chief in Afghanistan.The U.N.’s World Food Program has brought in food and distributed it to tens of thousands of people in recent weeks, but with winter approaching and a drought ongoing, at least $200 million is needed urgently to be able to continue to feed the most vulnerable Afghans, he said.

“By the end of September, the stocks which the World Food Program has in the country will be out,” Alakbarov told reporters at a virtual news conference. “We will not be able to provide those essential food items because we’ll be out of stocks.”Earlier, U.N. officials said that of the $1.3 billion needed for overall aid efforts, only 39% has been received.