UN seeks $5 billion to stabilize but still costs Afghanistan

The United Nations is making a record $5 billion appeal to help Afghanistan and neighboring countries

GENEVA – The United Nations on Tuesday issued a record appeal for US$5 billion to help Afghanistan and neighboring countries, warning half of the country is facing severe hunger, millions of children are not schools and farmers are struggling against drought – even as Afghanistan stabilizes from decades of conflict after the Taliban took over in August.

The call from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Refugees, UNHCR, reflects the world body’s efforts to help persecuted civilians inside a country currently under siege. run by a militant group that many Western sponsors have fought – and still oppose. The US-led international coalition left Afghanistan in turmoil as the Taliban dominated the country and returned to power in the summer.

OCHA warned of “catastrophe” lurking in Afghanistan and said 23 million people needed humanitarian assistance – more than half of the country’s population. According to the report, up to one million children under the age of 5 will face severe and acute malnutrition if they are not supported.

“We need to get food to the families where they live. Martin Griffiths, head of OCHA, said: “We need to get the seeds into the hands of the farmers where they are plowing. back home.”

“This is the biggest call ever for a single country for humanitarian assistance, three times the amount needed and actually raising funds by 2021,” he said.

The joint appeal seeks $4.4 billion for OCHA and partners, plus another $623 million for the refugee agency to help the more than 6 million Afghans who have fled abroad, about 15% of the total population. Afghan numbers. UNHCR said others continued to drip across the border, noting that an estimated 175,000 people have returned to the country since the Taliban took over.

“The reality is that people are coming back because it’s safer,” said Filippo Grandi, head of the UNCHR. “The conflict between the Taliban and the previous government is over. And that has opened up some privacy spaces, which I think we need to take advantage of. But to do that, we need the resources that are part of this call.”

Grandi went on to emphasize the effectiveness of the aid and said it “allows for the creation of a dialogue space with the Taliban that is invaluable” around issues important to many donors – like women’s rights. , girls’ right to school and the rights of minorities, are discussed with the country’s new leaders every day.

“It’s a space that we need to preserve, because right now, the political sphere is lagging a little bit behind,” he said.

The UN has repeatedly said that Afghans face one of the world’s fastest-growing humanitarian crises, with the economy “in free fall” and the rights of women and girls “under attack”. . According to the World Bank, the funding, if achieved, will be equivalent to about a quarter of the country’s total economic output in 2020, which is more than $20 billion.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/seeks-5b-stabilizing-suffering-afghanistan-82194046 UN seeks $5 billion to stabilize but still costs Afghanistan

Emma Bowman

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