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NEW YORK — Afghanistan is going through a serious public health emergency, exacerbated by the unstable political situation in the region. Food shortages could leave 8 million Afghans — 30 percent of the population — on the brink of starvation, unless more effective aid is provided soon. Lack of food is an actual threat not just in the remote regions of Afghanistan but also in its urban areas.

Price increases in basic foods, particularly wheat, have adversely affected millions of Afghans, primarily in rural areas where domestic production cannot satisfy people’ needs. For example, in 2005 an average household was spending 56 percent of their income on food. Now that figure has risen to 85 percent, according to Susannah Nicol, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program (WFP).

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