India to send 10,000 tons wheat to Afghanistan: Report

File photo.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between India and the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) for humanitarian food assistance of 10,000 tons of wheat for the people of Afghanistan reeling under a food crisis, Indian media reported on Saturday.

According to reports by Indian media, the MoU marks the fifth shipment of India’s humanitarian aid to be sent to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port.

WFP last year arranged support for 23 million food-insecure people across Afghanistan following the contribution of 40,000 tons of wheat from India.

The MoU was signed in Mumbai on Thursday between J P Singh, joint secretary, the Pak-Afghan-Iran Division of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, and Elisabeth Faure, representative and country director of the World Food Program in India.

“Sincere gratitude to the Indian government for food assistance to the people of Afghanistan. India’s support has been a lifeline for families in need and is an important part of WFP’s assistance to millions of people across Afghanistan,” said Faure.

“The fifth tranche builds upon assistance already delivered to those who need it most by WFP in Afghanistan. India has delivered on its commitment,” Singh said on the occasion as quoted by the Economic Times.

WFP warns of ‘catastrophic hunger’ in Afghanistan

The UN’s food agency said on April 11 that it urgently needs $800 million for the next six months to help the people of Afghanistan who are at the highest risk of famine in a quarter of a century.

While aid agencies have continued to roll out humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, funding has seen a rapid decline over the past few months following edicts by the Taliban against women – especially women working for NGOs and the United Nations.

The World Food Program, which has been severely hampered by the ban on women working for the UN – implemented last week – said that women aid workers play a vital role in delivering the agency’s food and nutrition assistance and that it will make “every possible effort” to keep this going, while also trying to ensure the active involvement of female staff.

The organization stated: “The WFP urgently needs $800 million for the next six months to continue providing assistance to people in need across Afghanistan.

“Catastrophic hunger knocks on Afghanistan’s doors and unless humanitarian support is sustained, hundreds of thousands more Afghans will need assistance to survive,” the agency said.

This appeal coincided with the UN’s urgent appeal for funding for Afghanistan. The organization said that its operations in the country remain severely underfunded, with $249 million reported to be confirmed for 2023, nearly one-third of the amount received for the same period in 2022.