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UN: Food insecurity in Afghanistan reaches ‘catastrophic’ level

FILE – Burqa-clad women walk on Nadir Khan hilltop overlooking Kabul, Afghanistan on March 16, 2017. Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers on Saturday, May 7, 2022 ordered all Afghan women to wear the all-covering burqa in public, a sharp hard-line pivot that confirmed the worst fears of rights activists and was bound to further complicate Taliban dealings with an already distrustful international community. (AP Photo)

The United Nations (U.N.) released data Monday reporting that food insecurity in parts of Afghanistan has reached “catastrophic” levels.

The analysis, conducted primarily by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme, found that 19.7 million Afghans are “facing high levels of acute food insecurity.”

The almost 20 million people facing acute malnutrition represent 47 percent of the country’s overall population and are concentrated mostly in northeast Afghanistan.

According to the five-level Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, 20,000 Afghans have reached the catastrophe phase, or the most dangerous level of food insecurity.

The remainder of the 19.7 million are classified in the crisis or emergency phase.

Apart from those experiencing these three levels of acute food insecurity, an additional 14.6 million are described as stressed in their relationship to food.

The analysis found that the main reasons for massive food insecurity in Afghanistan are economic decline, drought, high food prices and the global impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine, which has caused food prices to rise across the world.

“Humanitarian assistance remains desperately important, as do the needs to rebuild shattered agricultural livelihoods and re-connect farmers and rural communities to struggling rural and urban markets across the country,” said Afghanistan’s FAO representative, Richard Trenchard, in response to the analysis. “Unless these happen, there will be no way out of this crisis.”

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