UN airdrops food in Afghanistan
By Kate Clark in Kabul - BBC
The United Nations has made an emergency air drop of food aid to a remote area of Afghanistan.
It acted in response to reports of deaths related to the drought.
About 17 people are believed to have died in the last two months in one village in the Darra-e Souf area in northern Afghanistan.
Those dying are the most vulnerable, people who have already lost almost everything because of the war.
The UN rarely makes air drops of relief aid in Afghanistan but it decided to fly in one tonne of high energy biscuits, as an emergency response.
A spokesman said they would be sending a team to asses the situation but they felt they had to act immediately, and not risk any further loss of life.
Access to this area is extremely difficult.
It is a three day donkey trek from the nearest road to the south, itself a day and a half's drive from Kabul.
Access from the north should be easier, but roads are cut off by the front line.
Reports of deaths centre on the village of Dahane Shorab.
Ongoing civil war has hampered relief efforts
Its people fled a Taleban advance last year and found shelter in the nearby town of Darra-e Souf.
With loans and charity from local people, and a one-off distribution of food by the UN, they managed to survive the winter.
But two months ago, the locals found they could no longer help.
Their town, itself devastated by war, was hit hard by drought.
Surviving on wild plants
Reports say the refugees returned to their burned out village and tried to survive by eating famine foods.
These are the last resort of the desperate, wild plants which provide little nourishment and may even be poisonous.
Small children appear to be proving the most vulnerable.
The United Nations has estimated that between a half and three quarters of the Afghan population has been hit by the drought.
These are the first reports of deaths. They come where people have been squeezed by a combination of drought and war.
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