WASHINGTON : The UN secretary-general on Thursday warned the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated over the past months and appealed for “unconditional” $4.4 billion in aid for the war-stricken country.
“Together with our partners, we aim to reach 22 million people with food, water, health care, protection, shelter, education and other forms of life-saving aid,” said Antonio Guterres at the Afghanistan Conference 2022, a virtual UN high-level pledging conference.
The UK, Germany and Qatar are hosting the conference in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan.
The requested funding is the world’s largest appeal for a single country.
“So far, the appeal is currently less than 13% funded. I appeal to you to provide unconditional and flexible funding as soon as possible,” said Guterres.
“I also call for all those with influence to use it to ensure continued safe, rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian staff – women and men alike – to all parts of Afghanistan,” he added.
Guterres said Afghans are struggling to feed their families, and warned that without immediate action, “we face a starvation and malnutrition crisis in Afghanistan.”
“People are already selling their children and their body parts, in order to feed their families,” he added.
Speaking at the event, UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss said Afghanistan is the scene of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis after the Taliban took over the country.
More than 20 million people are in dire need of humanitarian support, and over 1 million children are at risk of dying from hunger, said Truss.
“Now is the time to dig deep by pledging to support the Afghan population, particularly those most in need.
“The UN has launched its largest-ever appeal for Afghanistan this year. We need to work through the UN to deliver real change for the Afghan people,” she added.– AA