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Afghanistan: food crisis in Badakhshan

03-08-1995 News Release 31

To alleviate severe food shortages in Badakhshan province, where many families were found to be on the verge of famine, the ICRC and the Afghan Red Crescent Society launched an emergency relief programme in early June. Besides food, wheat, barley and pea seed were distributed to 446 families in 29 villages. An ICRC agronomist has now set up base in Faizabad to follow up the distribution programme on the spot.

The overall situation is particularly bad in the north and north-east of the province where, according to ICRC delegates, people subsist from day to day with no food reserves at all. The terrain is such that communications are very difficult (horses and donkeys are the only means of transport overland), rendering a large-scale aid operation impossible. Deforestation has resulted in numerous landslides and extensive erosion, reducing the already limited area of arable land available.

The ICRC and the Afghan Red Crescent Society have also arranged for the collection and distribution of messages between persons detained in various parts of the country and their relatives in Badakhshan. The Governor of Badakhshan, Sayed Amin Tariq, himself a former detainee in Kabul's Pul-i-Charki prison, has shown great interest in the message service and stressed the importance of informing families of the whereabouts of their relatives.

The ICRC, which is working in close cooperation with the Afghan Red Crescent Society, is at present the only international aid organization active in the region.

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