GENEVA / WFP FAO AFGHANISTAN

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26-Oct-2021 00:03:35
The combined impacts of drought, conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, and an economic crisis in in Afghanistan, have left more than half of the country’s population – a record 22.8 million people – facing acute hunger. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / WFP FAO AFGHANISTAN
TRT: 3:35
SOURCE: UNTV CH
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 26 OCTOBER 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

26 OCTOBER 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Mary-Ellen McGroaty, Country Director in Afghanistan, World Food Programme (WFP):
“8.7 million people are in what is termed IPC 4, just one step away from starvation. There is a tsunami of destitution, incredible suffering and hunger spiralling out of control across Afghanistan, pushing millions and millions of its people, its children, its women, families in every corner of the country to the brink of survival and the country towards potential chaos.”
3. Wide shot, press conference room, showing speakers and participants
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Mary-Ellen McGroaty, Country Director in Afghanistan, World Food Programme (WFP):
“A lot of those young children that are now in hospital are at the very brink. It’s you know, MSF (Médecins sans frontières) and others said they will not make it. So, many of them, particularly children, are not far from starvation.”
5. Wide shot, press conference room, showing speakers and participants
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Mary-Ellen McGroaty, Country Director in Afghanistan, World Food Programme (WFP):
“Many, many innocent Afghans are at risk of dying this winter alone. Tragically these numbers confirm that, not only is Afghanistan becoming the world’s largest humanitarian crisis,
but also these numbers encapsulate the pace and scale of the crisis so rapidly unfolding in recent weeks.”
7. Close up, participants taking notes, large-screen TV showing the press briefing broadcast on Zoom
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Mary-Ellen McGroaty, Country Director in Afghanistan, World Food Programme (WFP):
“Desperate people will take desperate decisions, from selling their children as we have all seen reported in the media, migrating in search of support, or sadly joining radical groups that offer short term solutions. And this is not a short-term crisis, the continuing economic meltdown will bring further hardship, misery, and hunger.”
9. Wide shot, press conference room, showing speakers and participants
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dick Trenchard, Representative in Afghanistan, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
“Afghanistan is experiencing the emergency unfolding of a humanitarian crisis in an unprecedented scale and in an unprecedented speed. 18.8 million people are today facing acute food insecurity. That’s to say: hunger on a daily basis.”
11. Wide shot, press conference room, showing speakers and participants
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Dick Trenchard, Representative in Afghanistan, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
“As they have done so many times in the past, Afghanistan’s farmers, livestock owners and herders, will play a key role to bring Afghanistan back from the brink of catastrophe. Let’s remember, 75 per cent of Afghanistan’s people live in rural areas. Agriculture makes an enormous contribution: 25 per cent plus to the country’s GDP.”
13. Close up, speakers taking notes with the large-screen TV showing the press briefing on Zoom
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Dick Trenchard, Representative in Afghanistan, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
“As long as farmers have seeds in their fields and they can stay with their herds, they will stay in these rural communities, and we will see catastrophe avert. If we don’t, agriculture stumbles, continues to stumble. Let’s remember, the draught that has affected Afghanistan since late 2020. It’s projected, it’s forecasted to continue well until 2022 next year.”
15. Various shots, press room

STORYLINE:

The combined impacts of drought, conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, and an economic crisis in in Afghanistan, have left more than half of the country’s population – a record 22.8 million people – facing acute hunger.

This is the finding of the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report issued by the Food Security and Agriculture cluster of Afghanistan, co-led by the Food and Agriculture organization of the UN (FAO) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP), requiring an urgent international response to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.

Speaking today (26 Oct) from Kabul via zoom to journalists at the United Nations in Geneva, Mary-Ellen McGroaty, WFP Country Director in Afghanistan, said, “8.7 million people are in what is termed IPC 4, just one step away from starvation. There is a tsunami of destitution, incredible suffering and hunger spiralling out of control across Afghanistan, pushing millions and millions of its people, its children, its women, families in every corner of the country to the brink of survival and the country towards potential chaos.”

The report also noted that this is the highest number of acutely food insecure people ever recorded in the ten years the UN has been conducting IPC analyses in Afghanistan. Prior August, one in three Afghans were severely food insecure. Currently, it’s almost one in every two people in the country facing acute hunger.

“A lot of those young children that are now in hospital are at the very brink. It’s you know, MSF (Médecins sans frontières) and others think they will not make it. So, many of them, particularly children, are not far from starvation,” WFP’s country director said.

Afghanistan’s harsh winter looms threatening to cut off areas of the country where families desperately depend on humanitarian assistance to survive winter.

“Many, many innocent Afghans are at risk of dying this winter alone,” stated WFP’s Afghanistan’s country director. Tragically these numbers confirm that, not only is Afghanistan becoming the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, but also, these numbers encapsulate the pace and scale of the crisis so rapidly unfolding in recent weeks.”

According to WFP, an already dire situation has deteriorated on a daily basis over the past two months. Since the fall of the Kabul government in mid-August, the country is witnessing an economic meltdown – a loss of 40 per cent of its GDP and the suspension of international budget support which is over 70 per cent of the government budget.

“Desperate people will take desperate decisions, from selling their children as we have all seen reported in the media, migrating in search of support, or sadly joining radical groups that offer short term solutions. And this is not a short-term crisis, the continuing economic meltdown will bring further hardship, misery, and hunger,” said Mary-Ellen McGroaty.

WFP reached over four million people in September and expected to provide food assistance to some five million Afghans. WFP and FAO aim to reach 18 million people by the end of the year.

Joining also from Kabul via Zoom, Dick Trenchard, FAO Representative in Afghanistan, said the country “is experiencing the emergency unfolding of a humanitarian crisis in an unprecedented scale and in an unprecedented speed. 18.8 million people are today facing acute food insecurity. That’s to say: hunger on a daily basis.”

FAO stressed, that agriculture is also the bedrock of Afghanistan’s economy accounting for 45 percent of the total workforce and 25 percent of the GDP.

“As they have done so many times in the past, Afghanistan’s farmers, livestock owners and herders, will play a key role to bring Afghanistan back from the brink of catastrophe,” said Dick Trenchard. Let’s remember, 75 per cent of Afghanistan’s people live in rural areas. Agriculture makes an enormous contribution: 25 per cent plus to the country’s GDP.”

Therefore, sustaining agriculture is key to keeping the country’s economy afloat. Farmers now need urgent support in the form of seeds, fertilizers, animal feed and training. FAO highlighted, that considering seven out of 10 Afghans live in rural areas, triggering rural migration might create a serious problem, adding to the already over 600,000 people that have been internally displaced this year.

“As long as farmers have seeds in their fields and they can stay with their herds, they will stay in these rural communities, and we will see catastrophe avert. If we don’t, agriculture stumbles, continues to stumble. Let’s remember, the draught that has affected Afghanistan since late 2020. It’s projected, it’s forecasted to continue well until 2022 next year,” said Trenchard from WFP.

FAO said it needs 11.4 million USD until the end of the year to provide urgent support to agricultural livelihoods. Funding needs for 2022 are expected to grow exponentially.
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