The United Nations World Food Program warns of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Afghanistan. She estimates that of the 38 million Afghans, 14 million do not have enough to eat.
Program director in Afghanistan, Mary Ellen McGarraty, called for international cooperation after the Islamist extremist Taliban movement took power in the country. “Otherwise, an already horrific situation would turn into an absolute humanitarian catastrophe,” she told the Observer.
McGarraty hopes other countries will send food, medicine, protection and financial aid to Afghanistan, which is also suffering from drought. That help should be available in six or seven weeks, she says, because after that many roads will be closed due to snow.
The Netherlands announced on Sunday that it will release 10 million euros for humanitarian aid in Afghanistan. The money is for basic needs, such as shelter, food, drink, and medical care. “With this money, partner organizations can respond quickly to the dire crisis and conditions,” said outgoing Minister for Development Cooperation Tom De Bruyne.
In recent days, various organizations have called for support in Afghanistan. The European Commission has called for the delivery of humanitarian aid. Charities such as UNICEF and Save the Children have also said Afghans need support. On Tuesday, the International Red Cross said it needed more than an additional 20 million euros for emergency aid.
The majority of humanitarian workers want to continue their work in Afghanistan, even after the extremist Islamist Taliban movement has seized power. The United Nations has confirmed to the German newspaper “Welt am Sonntag” that all UN organizations, such as the UNHCR, will remain in the country.
According to the United Nations Information Office in the Swiss city of Geneva, these organizations include about 300 foreign employees and 3,000 Afghan employees. The United Nations Children’s Rights Organization (UNICEF) said, “The Taliban are demanding in many provinces that we stay and continue our obviously successful efforts for the sake of children.”
According to the United Nations office in the Afghan capital, Kabul, most of the 150-plus NGOs in the country also want to remain active. This includes several thousand employees.
UNICEF estimates that, regardless of political developments, nearly ten million girls and boys in Afghanistan are already in need of humanitarian assistance. The United Nations Food Program (WFP) managed to get food to nearly 80,000 people in the past week.
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