UN aid chief Martin Griffiths appeals to the international community, saying ‘full-blown humanitarian catastrophe looms’ in Afghanistan.
The United Nations has said it needed nearly $5bn in aid for Afghanistan in 2022, as the global body launched its largest ever humanitarian appeal for a single country to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.
The UN humanitarian agency on Tuesday said $4.4bn was needed within Afghanistan, while a further $623m was required to support the millions of Afghans sheltering beyond its borders.
More than half the population – about 22 million people – face acute hunger, the UN said, adding a further 5.7 million displaced Afghans in five neighbouring countries needed vital relief this year.
“A full-blown humanitarian catastrophe looms. My message is urgent: don’t shut the door on the people of Afghanistan,” said UN Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths.
“Help us scale up and stave off widespread hunger, disease, malnutrition and ultimately death.”
Since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last August, the country has plunged into financial chaos, with inflation and unemployment surging after Washington froze billions of dollars of the country’s assets and international financial institutions suspending funds. Moreover, aid supplies have been heavily disrupted due to US sanctions.
Afghanistan also suffered its worst drought in decades in 2021.
Without the aid package, “there won’t be a future”, Griffiths told reporters in Geneva.
Griffiths said the appeal, if funded, would help aid agencies ramp up the delivery of food and agriculture support, health services, malnutrition treatment, emergency shelters, access to water and sanitation, protection and education.
An estimated 4.7 million people will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2022, including 1.1 million children with severe acute malnutrition.
Griffiths said without humanitarian aid, distress, deaths, hunger and further mass displacement would follow, “robbing the people of Afghanistan of the hope that their country will be their home and support, now and in the near term”.
However, if international donors come forward, “we will see the opportunity for an Afghanistan which may finally see the fruits of some kind of security”.
Griffiths said the security situation for humanitarian organisations in Afghanistan was probably better now than for many years, adding that the staff in the ministries in Kabul largely remained the same as before the Taliban takeover.
He said the UN Security Council’s move in December to help humanitarian aid reach desperate Afghans, without violating international sanctions aimed at isolating the Taliban, had made the operating environment for donors and humanitarians on the ground much more comfortable. READ MORE