The government of Afghanistan and the United Nations have launched an emergency appeal to combat drought in the region. According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, US $71.3 million is required to combat the drought. Despite emergency assistance, more than six million people continue to go without food. Severe food and water shortages have led to the displacement of a large number of villagers; in the past year grain prices have almost doubled and, in seven of the country's 34 provinces, most of the population survives on less than the recommended 2,100 calories per day. The Afghanistan government has formed a Drought Response Steering Committee, which has begun relief work by sending assistance to the worst affected areas. This, however, would fall short of providing relief to all those affected, especially as winter approaches. The Afghan people have been suffering drought for the last six years. Some 37 per cent suffer from malnutrition as a result of the drought; double that number are believed to have been affected in 2003.
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