World can end Afghanistan’s ‘downward humanitarian spiral’ |

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the current situation in Afghanistan is unprecedented and more than 24.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance to survive, despite years of conflict and ongoing humanitarian needs that have sparked recurrent droughts. do.

Food security levels have plummeted at an alarming rate, leaving half of the population facing severe starvation. This includes the world’s highest number of 9 million people living in emergency food insecurity.

Moreover, malnutrition has increased and livelihoods have been destroyed.

ask for help

To help ease the situation, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres kicked off a high-level pledge ceremony on Thursday. Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Support – Co-hosted by UK, Germany and Qatar.

Last year, when the country faced severe chaos and international isolation, donors showed remarkable generosity to the people of Afghanistan.

By spending $1.8 billion on aid organizations, we have been able to provide life-saving food, clean water, health care, shelter and education to 20 million people.

International donors are asking for funds to keep flowing and grow again this year.

Afghanistan’s largest, but not the only aid, is a joint UN aid operation that is demanding $4.4 billion, triple the amount requested in 2021.

‘Selling parts of my body’ to survive in Afghanistan

“Without immediate action Afghanistan’s hunger and malnutrition crisis‘ said Mr. Guterres, in a speech at the conference.

People are already selling their children and body parts to feed their families. Afghanistan’s economy has virtually collapsed. I have very little cash.”

He said even international aid agencies could be “little functional” and local partners face much greater challenges.

The UN secretary-general warns that humanitarian needs have tripled since June and are “increasing every day.”

He said the international community must find a way to save the Afghans from the impact of the decision to halt development assistance and freeze Afghanistan’s nearly $9 billion worth of assets abroad.

He declared, “We need to secure cash so the Afghan economy can breathe and the people of Afghanistan can eat.” “Wealthy and powerful countries cannot ignore the consequences of their decisions on the most vulnerable..

“The first step in a meaningful humanitarian response must be to stop the spiral of death in the Afghan economy. Without it, even the best-funded and most effective relief efforts will not be able to save the people of Afghanistan from a future unimaginable.”

Prime Minister Guterres reiterated that the United Nations is with the people of Afghanistan.

“I welcome the recent resolution of the Security Council to renew the mission of the United Nations Assistance Group in Afghanistan with a focus on coordinating humanitarian aid and promoting human rights.

We must now support this agreement by Promise to bring about immediate and tangible change.”

The World Food Program (WFP) is distributing food to vulnerable families during the harsh winters in Kabul, Afghanistan.

© WFP/Sadek Nasseri

The World Food Program (WFP) is distributing food to vulnerable families during the harsh winters in Kabul, Afghanistan.

We have the power to stop the humanitarian vicious cycle in Afghanistan And today it is our moral duty to use this power by promising generous, flexible and unconditional funding.

The first aid coordinator, speaking from Kabul, said he had suffered severe confusion after visiting the hospital. Acutely malnourished children in intensive care.

“The humanitarian situation here is grim. Tens of millions of people are risking their lives… 6 out of 10 Afghans today need humanitarian aid.”

Griffith said the economy is “too weak to sustain the lives of ordinary Afghans” who suffer most.

Today, half of the population faces severe hunger, including: 9 million people in “emergency food insecurity”; This is the highest number in the world.

US promises more than $500 million

The US led the list of pledges at the end of Thursday’s meeting, promising just over $512 million in aid in 2022. Other donors have pledged $25 million to co-hosts the UK (over $374 million), Germany (less than $220 million) and Qatar.

A total of 41 aid announcements were made, including 15 pledges for the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund. Some countries, including Spain and Iceland, have also committed to funding Afghanistan after 2023.

In an interview with the United Nations News Russia service, UN humanitarian coordinator Ramiz Alakhvarov said the Afghan team was “very satisfied” with the outcome of the pledge talks. He said they appreciate “the strong solidarity of the donor community with the people of Afghanistan.”

He added that the meeting strongly reflected “a unified global sentiment that Afghan girls should receive unlimited education”.

make a difference

The pledge of assistance will continue for the rest of this year, with funding so far only securing 13% of the requirements of the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan.

In the first eight weeks of 2022, humanitarian partners reached 12.7 million people through lifesaving assistance, giving priority to women, girls and ethnic groups.

Delivery included hundreds of thousands of malnourished children and nutritious food for pregnant and breastfeeding women. healthy food for students; seeds and tools for farmers; and trauma treatment and reproductive health care.

Participants are encouraged to pledge generously to send a signal of strong solidarity that the world is with the people of Afghanistan.

‘Fault line’ negotiations

Prior to the meeting, Achim Steiner, Director of the UN Development Program (UNDP), visited Afghanistan for two days, highlighting the importance of the rights of girls and women in Afghanistan.

He argued that the recent decision to ban secondary school girls from grade 6 is very worrying and that UNDP is committed to working with UN agencies to protect and promote access to education and work.

“UNDP’s partnerships are often multidimensional and sometimes face challenges such as the education of girls in Afghanistan.

Because the future of Afghanistan is for all Afghanistan, not just a select few, both boys and girls must have access to the classroom.“.

soaring poverty

The UNDP Director also stressed the urgent need for measures to prevent poverty and economic instability.

“At the end of last year we reported that about 97% of Afghans could live in poverty by mid-2022, and unfortunately we are reaching that figure sooner than expected,” he said.

“And with raw material prices soaring around the world, we know that people here cannot afford to meet basic human needs like food, health care and education.”

Support for female business owners

At Mazar-e-Sharif, Mr. Steiner met with women business owners and members of the Chamber of Commerce to talk about the struggle to keep the business running.

“The female small business owners I spoke to are steadfast in their resolve to continue to earn an income and support their families and communities,” he said.

“We aim to support more than 50,000 small businesses this year alone, many of them women.”

swimming in debt

After the Taliban took over in August, Afghanistan faces a potentially irreversible economic collapse, a frozen banking system and a lack of liquidity that will leave around 80% of its people in debt.

The UNDP representative defended generosity at the pledge meeting, saying, “We need to start the economy from scratch and run it. It means support for individuals, families and businesses.”

With the world’s attention focused on Ukraine and the aftermath of the war, we must also stand in solidarity with the Afghan people.“.

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Author: bm4ey

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