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Nearly half of rural Afghans face food insecurity amid drought, UN agency warns

Nearly half of rural Afghans face food insecurity amid drought, UN agency warns

Nearly half of all rural Afghans now face some level of food insecurity, a UN agency said on Monday, as a historic drought and deteriorating security grip the country.

Described by some locals as the worst in a lifetime, the drought had a devastating effect on rural populations last year, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an overview of Afghanistan aid operations in 2018.

“With crops failing and limited water supplies, as well as increased malnutrition and illness, hundreds of thousands of people left their homes to seek help near major cities,” the OCHA said.

The agency says the number of people in need of some form of food assistance in Afghanistan rose from 3.3 million at the start of last year to a projected current level of 13.5 million – or 47 percent of the population – as of February 2019, AFP reports.