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Afghanistan: hope for survival

04-10-1995 News Release 40

Six months after they began, the agricultural rehabilitation programmes conducted by the ICRC in large areas of central Afghanistan (Kabul, Logar, Wardak, Ghazni, Bamyan and Badakhshan provinces) have just been assessed for the first time. According to Peter Stocker, head of the ICRC delegation in Kabul, they are having a major impact.

For example, in the country's desert regions the population depends on irrigation for its survival. Under the supervision of ICRC agronomists, wells have been sunk, irrigation ditches repaired and karezes (underground irrigation systems) put back into operation. Local villagers have been mobilized to help restore dozens of kilometres of irrigation channels, and this has considerably increased the area of land under cultivation. " After a succession of wars, these village people can at last see a glimmer of hope " , said Nouri, an Afghan agronomist working for the ICRC. 

After an analysis of eating habits carried out by an ICRC nutritionist revealed the importance of dried fruit in the Afghans'winter diet, 200,000 trees were treated against disease and infestation by insects and hundreds of thousands of tonnes of fruit were saved.

These activities, carried out jointly with the Afghan Red Crescent, are taking place on all sides of the front lines.

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