Lack of funds hits Pakistan, Afghanistan food aid
In Afghanistan, which is recovering from decades of conflict, the program will have to reassess its presence in a number of provinces if it fails to get more funding in the next two months, WFP spokesman Trevor Rowe said.
Donations of $11 million are urgently needed to keep feeding 3.5 million people for the next three months, he said.
In Pakistan, the WFP already has begun cutting back on its use of costly helicopters to deliver food to remote areas hit hard by an Oct. 8 earthquake that killed some 73,000 people and left 3 million homeless, Rowe told Reuters.
"We need to sustain those helicopters for the next few months to keep feeding villages in the remote and inaccessible mountains and to preposition food in the quake-devastated areas, so that those people who have sought refuge in camps will return home and start rebuilding their lives," he said.
The agency needs another $24 million to keep the helicopter operations going through the end of August.
"We don't see any of it now," Rowe said. "We've been waiting and appealing and it is not coming in."
The helicopter fleet serving the earthquake zone peaked last month at 20 and has been scaled back this month to 17. Without fresh funds, the number of helicopters will fall to 13 by March 23, he said.
The cutbacks are coming during a brutal winter in an area where road access has always been a problem.
In the past two weeks alone, the region has had more than 50 landslides, some of them fatal, leaving the roads in extremely poor condition and in many cases impassable, Rowe said.
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