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UN says needs urgent help to feed Afghan hungry

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    KABUL, My 4 (Reuters) The UN food agency today appealed for urgent donations to help feed 3.5 million Afghans, warning that rations would soon have to be cut if it could not get funds.

    The World Food Programme (WFP) said it needed 52,000 tonnes of food worth about million to fund operations until December.

    ''Our lack of funding has left us almost no choice and food rations and activities will have to be cut if we do not receive fresh donations,'' said the WFP representative in Afghanistan, Charles Vincent.

    The United Nations says 6.8 million Afghans out of a population of about 25 million are chronically hungry.

    The WFP said it was worried it might not be able to pre-position about 25,000 tonnes of food before the onset of winter, which could lead to severe hardship for isolated communities.

    ''We are working in some of the most remote and inaccessible locations in the world in Afghanistan, and it can take four to seven months to translate a donor's pledge into food assistance on the ground,'' Vincent said in a statement.

    Most Afghan farmers do not harvest enough food to meet their needs and many sell their assets, and some even their daughters, to survive, the WFP said.

    Afghanistan was expected to face a shortage of 400,000 tonnes of cereals this year despite a good harvest in the main wheat-growing north, the WFP said.

    REUTERS SY PM1936

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