IRC Convoys Reach Herat and Nangarhar
International Rescue Committee food convoys arrived today in Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan and the city of Herat in western Afghanistan, launching an IRC program that will provide 50,000 displaced families with some 4,600 metric tons of food over the next month.
IRC field coordinators in eastern and western Afghanistan will oversee the distribution of some 250 metric tons of beans, sugar and cooking oil to districts in Nangarhar, while 80 metric tons will be delivered to displaced-persons settlements in the Herat area. Deliveries to Mazar-i-Sharif and other underserved communities in northern Balkh province will begin later this month.
"We've identified families and communities that will not survive the winter without additional food aid," says Sigurd Hanson, IRC's program director in Afghanistan and Pakistan. "This IRC program aims to provide 250,000 people already receiving wheat from other sources with three-months of additional critical food supplies."
The IRC's $2.7 million distribution will target particularly vulnerable families-female-headed households and those with sick or elderly members. The project is being funded by the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.
In the weeks ahead, IRC convoys from Peshawar, Pakistan will be providing a total of 2,600 tons of food to 18,000 families (90,000 people) in the provinces of Paktia, Logar and Nangarhar. Convoys loading supplies in the Meshhad border of Iran will deliver 800 metric tons of food for 10,000 families (50,000 people) in Herat and elsewhere in Badghis province-one of the regions in Afghanistan hardest hit by drought. More than 20,000 families (100,000 people) in need in northern Balkh province will receive 1,515 metric tons of food aid.
Meanwhile, the IRC continues to distribute wheat to vulnerable communities and displaced-persons camps in the Mazar area. Some 22,000 metric tons of wheat, provided by the World Food Program, will be delivered over the next six months.
"We've been able to distribute an average of 60 metric tons of wheat every day, in spite of the volatile security environment," says Idrees Rahami, IRC's acting field coordinator in Mazar. "However improved security and access would allow us to double our distributions in the region."
Plans are underway for the IRC to step-up deliveries of non-food emergency supplies to tens of thousands of Afghan families. These supplies include tents, heavy quilts and blankets, plastic sheeting, winter clothing, cooking equipment, charcoal and hygiene kits.