Senior UN official to assess situation in Afghanistan
ISLAMABAD, Feb. 12 (Kyodo) - The United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Kenzo Oshima arrived in Islamabad on Monday for a five-day visit to assess the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and to enlist donor support for U.N. relief operations, officials said.
They said that Oshima was sent by the U.N. Secretary General to the region to assess the situation on the ground following reports of the worsening situation in the camps of internally displaced refugees in southwestern Afghanistan.
Oshima met Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar on Monday and is due to leave for Afghanistan on Tuesday morning.
A severe cold spell has killed 150 displaced people in Afghanistan who were camping in unusually cold conditions where food, water, clothing and blankets are desperately needed, a U.N. spokesman said last week.
The U.N. agencies are set to meet donors Thursday in an attempt to increase donations and international awareness of the severity of the Afghan crisis.
According to U.N. reports, Afghanistan is in the grip of its worst drought in 30 years. Over half the population, or 12 million people, are being affected.
In the last two years, grain production has fallen by more than half the national requirement, while huge numbers of livestock have been sold or have died due to drought or freezing weather.
Many farmers and nomadic people have lost their livelihood in a country where at least 80% of the population relies on agriculture.
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