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WFP: Widespread Afghan Famine Unlikely - 2001-12-21

The director of the World Food Program says widespread famine in Afghanistan is unlikely. The WFP says tens of thousands of tons of food are making their way to Afghans most in need.

Catherine Bertini, Executive Director of the U.N.'s World Food Program, pointed to a number of positive developments in the war on hunger in Afghanistan. Approximately five million of the six million Afghans determined to be in the greatest need have already received food. Thirty-three thousand tons of wheat have reached the most remote regions of the country since September.

Ms. Bertini added that the WFP has already managed to get 55,000 tons of wheat into Afghanistan in the first two weeks of this month, surpassing its monthly goal of 52,000 tons. "I do believe that there's enough food that's gone in and been distributed in the country that we will not see widespread famine in Afghanistan," she said.

Ms. Bertini also announced that 21 bakeries operated by women, previously shut down by the Taliban, have been reopened. She added that several members of New York City's police and fire departments will arrive in Kabul later this month to deliver food, blankets, and other emergency supplies.