Afghanistan + 1 more

Pakistan: WFP warns of aid suspension for Afghan refugees

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ISLAMABAD, 18 February (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that it might be forced to suspend food aid for Afghan refugees in Pakistan as early as next month if donors do not meet a US $24 million appeal for aid for about 300,000 of them currently in the country.
"There might be a pipeline break fairly soon in March. So far we have received pledges in trickles and drops," Reza Sultan, a spokesman for WFP, told IRIN in the capital, Islamabad, on Tuesday. "We really need an acceleration in the process from the donor community in order to meet the food needs of these poor refugees."

Last month, the agency asked donors to contribute $24 million towards a programme to supply about 65,000 mt of food to 288,000 Afghan refugees in 16 camps throughout 2003 in the southwestern province of Balochistan and the North West Frontier Province, both bordering Afghanistan.

According to Sultan, the contributions thus far received or pledged include $1.5 million from Swedish donors, $753,000 from Swiss contributors and $171,000 from Japan. Most of this money would be spent on of wheat purchases.

He added that many people in the remote camps were almost completely reliant on food aid. "If there is a major pipeline break, then security could also be compromised at these camps, and there could be a very bad situation for these people," he warned.

The UN food agency has been providing for Afghan refugees under various caseloads and emergency operations since 1996. "We really need the donor community to come forward," Sultan maintained.

[ENDS]

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