Khalifa charity to fund Afghan aid

The foundation signs agreement to support Oxfam on several projects across the country, including providing clean drinking water.

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ABU DHABI // The Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Charity Foundation announced funding yesterday for a series of projects to improve access to health care, clean water, food and sanitation in Afghanistan. Mohammed al Khoori, the foundation's executive director, and Orla Quinlan, the head of programme funding for Oxfam Great Britain, signed an agreement to work on several projects across the country, including providing clean drinking water. Oxfam's Afghanistan country director, Grace Ommer, also travelled to the capital for the occasion.

According to Oxfam, Afghanistan is facing a food crisis as a result of a prolonged drought, as well as decades of civil unrest. The situation is said to be particularly dire in the regions of Badakhshan and Hazarajat, where some chronically poor families face what Oxfam describes as "famine-like conditions". According to Mr al Khoori, the deaths of 44 per cent of Afghan children who die before the age of five can be linked to illness relating to poor public health, sanitation and water. Many families have to travel at least half an hour to find clean drinking water, he said.

The state news agency, WAM, reported that Mr al Khoori said: "The agreement is a fruit of recent understandings between the two organisations under which the Khalifa Foundation will benefit from Oxfam's international network of services for delivering food and clothes and fighting of poverty and unemployment in poor countries. "These diseases can be prevented by establishing projects for providing clean drinking water and safe public health services."

WAM reported Ms Quinlan as saying she hoped that the new partnership would further bolster the work of her organisation in the war-torn country. She also stressed the urgency for international partners to work together to meet the many challenges facing the country and its most vulnerable citizens. Oxfam has been providing direct emergency humanitarian and development assistance in Afghanistan since 1991 and is currently working in 65 villages in two provinces.

Last year the organisation worked to build grain banks in more than 30 communities, which provided grain to about 9,000 people.