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PAN, October 19, 2010

80pc Balkh residents live in extreme poverty

Afghanistanhas seven million acres of cultivable land, with only 20 percent having access to water

By Zabihullah Ehsas

MAZAR-I-SHARIF - Ten out of 100 families in northern Balkh province earn a living with the assistance of others while 80 percent people are living in extreme poverty, an official said on Tuesday.

Family in cave in Bamyan
An Afghan family sit outside their cave home in Bamiyan province on April 22, 2009. Many people in this central province don't have proper homes and reside inside large caves.

Dr. Fardin, food in charge at the ActionAid International Organisation in the north, told a press conference in Mazar-i-Sharif that the 10 families out 100 included widows, disables, orphans and labourers who fulfilled their daily life needs with the help of others.

"In other countries, there are many reasons for lack of food but in Afghanistan, the food shortage is due to lack of agricultural equipment and facilities," he said.

Afghanistanhas seven million acres of cultivable land, with only 20 percent having access to water. "If the government solves the irrigation problem, it will help drop the percentage of poverty and food shortage," he said.

Farmers in the northern Balkh province also complain about lack of water. They say if the government managed to control water flow in the Amo River, deserts spreading over thousands of acres of land would be brought under cultivation.

Authorities also confirmed lack of water in the province. The governor's spokesman, Munir Farhad, said they had discussed the problem with donor countries and organisations, but no action had so far been taken in this regard.

Category: Poverty - Views: 8752