The government of Afghanistan started distributing free breads to hundreds of thousands of the people across the nation this week as the supplies have started to get disrupted due to the coronavirus or COVID-19 shutdown and prices have increased, officials and experts mentioned.
Over 250,000 families who are from the capital city of the country, Kabul have started getting ten flat 'Naan' breads for each day during the first phase of this new project.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said the bread distribution programme was also taking place in other cities as rising prices were hitting what is already one of the poorest countries in the world, with more than half of the population living below the poverty line.
Afghanistan's headline inflation was an annual 12.1% in April
Afghanistan's headline inflation was an annual 12.1 percent in April and food inflation stood at 27 percent, up from 11 percent a month earlier, said Omar Joya, an economist at the independent Biruni Institute think-tank in Kabul, who had access to the government's latest consumer price data. "Given Afghanistan's high dependence on imported food and non-food products, disruption in trade as a result of border closures can have a severe impact on domestic inflation," Joya said.
The spike in food prices, which has come in the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, is a harsh blow for a country reeling from the decades-old conflict between US-led forces and Taliban insurgents. "The COVID-19 situation in Afghanistan is quickly turning from a health emergency to a food and livelihood crisis," said Parvathy Ramaswami, deputy country director of World Food Programme, Afghanistan.
Afghanistan reported on Tuesday it had 3,224 positive cases of coronavirus, including 95 deaths. "As if blasts and attacks were not enough to make our lives miserable, now we have to deal with fears of a virus and a shortage of food," said Amiran Jalazi, a mother of four children whose husband was killed in a militant attack this year in Kabul.
(With agency inputs)