The Rome-based World Food Program is appealing to donors to help it feed seven-and-one-half million people in Afghanistan, who face hunger because of the approaching winter and turmoil stemming from the September 11th terrorist attacks in the United States.
The organization's executive-director, Catherine Bertini, said six million Afghans are in desperate need of food. She says another one-and-one-half million people are expected to flee Afghanistan in case the United States attacks the Taleban.
Ms. Bertini said a six-month relief operation would cost more than 250-million dollars and deliver 52-thousand tons of aid a month. This would be a significant increase over the 15-thousand tons of food aid the agency is already providing.
Ms. Bertini said the World Food Program is maintaining contacts with Taleban officials to ensure that food reaches the needy. She says the organization is also considering adding airdrops, in order to reach families in remote areas that will soon be cut off by heavy winter snows.
Meanwhile, in Geneva, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says it is gearing up to deal with the potential humanitarian crisis of Afghan refugees fleeing to neighboring countries in the event of a war. The organization is appealing for 25-million dollars to help provide shelter, clean water, sanitation and basic health care for those leaving their homes.