GENEVA: Many Afghans were struggling to feed their families amid severe drought well before Taliban militants seized power last month and millions may now face starvation with the country isolated and the economy unravelling, aid agencies say.
"In the current context there are no national safety nets...Since the 15th of August (when the Taliban took over), we have seen the crisis accelerate and magnify with the imminent economic collapse that is coming this country's way," Mary-Ellen McGroarty, World Food Programme country director in Afghanistan, told Reuters by videolink from Kabul.
In an August video provided by the WFP, Afghan women wearing head to toe-covering burqas and men in turbans line up for supplies at a U.N. food distribution centre in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. A bearded man leaves carrying a sack of 46 kilos (101.4 pounds) of fortified wheat flour on his back.
"There are no crops, no rain, no water and people are living in misery. This is a great mercy from God and it really helps poor and needy people," Delawar, who lives in Balkh province whose capital is Mazar, says in the video after getting rations for his family of eight.
Food prices have spiked since the second drought in four years ruined some 40% of the wheat crop, according to the WFP.