India signs MoU for wheat donation to Afghanistan

New Delhi: India on Saturday signed an MoU with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for in kind humanitarian food assistance of 10,000 metric tonnes (MT) of wheat for Afghanistan, which is reeling under a food crisis compounded by the recent earthquake.

Almost half the population of 19.7 million people faces acute food insecurity and requires emergency food assistance, with needs mounting in Afghanistan, according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) assessment released in May 2022.

The MoU marks the fifth and the final tranche of 50,000 MT that India had committed as humanitarian food assistance in 2020 to the beleaguered neighbour.

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“This (final) tranche builds upon assistance already delivered to those who need it most in Afghanistan. India has delivered on its commitment, standing by the historical relations between the people of two countries and the pressing needs on the ground,” said J.P. Singh, Joint Secretary, PAI at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) after signing the MoU with Bishow Parajuli, Representative and Country Director, WFP, India.

“India’s support has been a lifeline for families in need and is an important part of WFP’s assistance to 19 million people across Afghanistan this year,” Parajuli said.

Record levels of food insecurity persist in Afghanistan with almost half the population in the grips of an unprecedented hunger crisis. The country is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis after decades of conflict, severe drought, and a devastating economic crisis. Last month’s earthquake only added to the already massive needs, including food insecurity for the 19 million people in 2022.

The WFP in Afghanistan has in place a massive supply chain and logistics infrastructure with hundreds of trucks and staff, ensuring that food assistance reaches those who need it the most and no one is excluded, said a statement from WFP India.

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