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Afghanistan: Commission provides €2.5 million in humanitarian aid for victims affected by drought

The European Commission has adopted a €2.5 million decision in emergency humanitarian aid for victims affected by severe drought in Afghanistan. Access to food and clean water supplies, as well as food security will be improved for the most vulnerable populations, with a particular focus on disabled persons and female headed households. Funds are channelled through the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel.

Significantly less snowfall in the last winter and the failure of rains in much of the country during the critical spring season have caused severe drought throughout the country. There has been a considerable reduction in the yield of wheat this year and many households have experienced food and water shortages. An estimated 2.5 million people are facing difficult living conditions.

This decision will target the most vulnerable populations affected by the drought who have reached the limits of their coping mechanisms. Special attention will be given to disabled persons and female headed households. Food and water deficiencies will be addressed by the provision of employment through cash-for-work and food-for-work activities. Through labour intensive programmes, it is expected that water sources, irrigation assets and infrastructure will be rehabilitated in order to mitigate the effects of the next droughts. Food will be distributed directly to the most vulnerable people in areas where the above mentioned mechanisms cannot be applied.

Projects will be implemented by the Commission's operational partners, such as Non-Governmental Organisations already working in the field. Their activities could be hindered by the deteriorating security situation. Access to remote regions could be affected by the early onset of winter and landslides.

Since 2004, the European Commission has allocated a total of €77 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.