The Department for International Development recently approved £3 million of emergency humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan. DfID's contribution, along with other donors, will help the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide 43,000 tonnes of assorted commodities (ie, 35,000 tonnes of wheat, 4,200 tonnes of pulses, 2,800 tonnes of vegetable oil and 700 tonnes of iodized salt) in rural areas, and 46,000 tonnes of wheat in urban and semi-urban areas.
The price of wheat has increased between January 2007 and 2008 by a countrywide average of 58 per cent. The poor spend as much as 55 per cent of their income on food, predominantly wheat flour. Our response will help to mitigate the effect of this adverse impact.
The Government of Afghanistan have also taken immediate measures and are considering longer term mechanisms to address similar crises. The Government have also temporarily reduced the import tax on wheat and wheat flour. As part of the Afghanistan national development strategy they are developing a disaster preparedness and risk mitigation strategy.
We are monitoring the situation closely and have been taking account of higher costs when responding to humanitarian appeals.