World Food Programme readies Pakistan-Afghanistan aid bridge

Islamabad helps fix UN planes that were damaged in Kabul

The World Food Programme is ready to set up an aid corridor between Pakistan and Afghanistan after Islamabad helped fix the UN agency’s planes that were damaged in Kabul.

Speaking from Islamabad, David Beasley, the head of the WFP, said a successful test flight would lead to an “air bridge” being established.

It would enable aid workers and UN stuff to to fly into Afghanistan to maintain and enhance operations.

Mr Beasley said there was a “critical need right now with all the devastation in Afghanistan. We want to do what we can to bring life back to normal and give hope to people in desperation right now."

The WFP this week said a “humanitarian catastrophe” was imminent unless immediate action was taken, with 14 million people facing food shortages. The urgency is particularly acute with winter drawing closer, a time when access to remote areas becomes more difficult.

The UN agency said the precarious situation meant it could run out of wheat flour, its main supply, by October.

“Humanitarian catastrophe awaits the people of Afghanistan this winter unless the global community makes their lives a priority,” said Anthea Webb, WFP regional deputy director for Asia and the Pacific.

“Usually at this time of year, WFP is busy pre-positioning food stocks in warehouses and with communities across Afghanistan, to be then distributed to needy Afghan families before they are cut off by brutal winter snows."

The WFP said it urgently needed $200 million to deliver assistance. Ms Webb said there were “only a few short weeks to secure the necessary donor funding and get food in place before mountain passes are blocked by snow”.

Updated: August 26th 2021, 10:13 AM