NGO starts emergency food aid to drought-stricken Afghanistan

Courtesy of Peace Japan Medical Service
PMS staff distribute food in the Achin district of Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, on Jan.24.

Peshawar-kai, a Japanese nongovernmental organization that provides medical and agricultural assistance to Afghanistan, has begun distributing emergency food aid to the drought-stricken country.

The organization will distribute until early February a one-month supply of wheat and rice to about 18,000 people in eastern Nangarhar Province. It will be the first time for the organization to provide food aid since the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The organization announced the launch of the assistance project on Wednesday.

According to the organization, the Peace Japan Medical Service (PMS), a Peshawar-kai unit based in the province, reported in December that food aid was required after the number of malnourished children being brought to their clinic had increased sharply. In the province, crops have been growing in areas where PMS has developed irrigation facilities, but other areas are experiencing drought.

In response, Peshawar-kai decided to work with local health authorities to distribute food among six districts in critical need.

The assistance project mainly covers families with malnourished children and pregnant women. Food purchased and imported by the organization from neighboring Tajikistan and Uzbekistan was distributed in Afghanistan’s Achin district on Jan. 23 and 24.

The project was provided funds from $90,000 that the association sent via various channels to Afghanistan at the end of last year.

Masaru Murakami, the 72 year-old head of Peshawar-kai, said, “Amid the economic sanctions on Afghanistan, remittances to the country continue to be difficult, but we will do our best to help people survive the harshest season of winter.”

Peshawar-kai has its administrative headquarters in Fukuoka City.

The organization gained notoriety for its assistance to Afghanistan when it was led by Tetsu Nakamura, a Japanese doctor who was its representative in Afghanistan. He was killed by members of an armed group in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan, in December 2019.