UN calls for $5B aid for Afghanistan in 2022
The United Nations says that $5 billion in aid for Afghanistan is needed by 2022 to avert a humanitarian disaster.
The United Nations said on Tuesday that $5 billion in aid for Afghanistan is needed by 2022 to avert a humanitarian disaster and give the war-torn country a future after 40 years of suffering.
The UN said in its largest-ever single-country appeal that $4.4 billion was needed within Afghanistan, with an additional $623 million needed to support the millions of Afghans seeking refuge beyond its borders.
According to the UN, 22 million people inside Afghanistan and 5.7 million displaced Afghans in five neighboring countries require immediate assistance this year.
"A full-blown humanitarian catastrophe looms. My message is urgent: don't shut the door on the people of Afghanistan," said UN aid chief Martin Griffiths. "Help us scale up and stave off widespread hunger, disease, malnutrition, and ultimately death."
Afghanistan has been in financial chaos as the US troops heavily damaged the country's economic and political infrastructure following its two-decade-long invasion before hastily withdrawing in August of last year, leaving the country in a difficult state.
Washington has frozen billions of dollars in the country's assets, and aid supplies have been severely hampered. Afghanistan also suffered its worst drought in decades in 2021, leading to unemployment skyrocketing and the current inflation.
Griffiths told reporters in Geneva that without the aid package, "there will be no future."
40 years of insecurity
The UN aid chief stated that if the appeal is successful, it will assist aid agencies in increasing the delivery of food and agriculture assistance, health services, malnutrition treatment, emergency shelters, access to water and sanitation, protection, and education.
In 2022, an estimated 4.7 million people will be suffering from acute malnutrition, with 1.1 million children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
Griffiths stated that if humanitarian aid is not provided, there will be distress, deaths, hunger, and further mass displacement, "robbing the people of Afghanistan of the hope that their country will be their home and support, now and in the near term."
If international donors step up, however, "we will see the opportunity for an Afghanistan that may finally see the fruits of some kind of security."
Griffiths stated that if the appeal is successful, it will assist aid agencies in increasing the delivery of food and agriculture assistance, health services, malnutrition treatment, emergency shelters, access to water and sanitation, protection, and education.
Fear of implosion
Griffiths stated that the security situation for humanitarian organizations in Afghanistan is probably better now than it has been for many years, adding that the staff in Kabul ministries has largely remained the same since the Taliban took over.
He said the UN Security Council's decision in December to help humanitarian aid reach desperate Afghans while not violating international sanctions aimed at isolating the Taliban had improved the operating environment for donors and humanitarians on the ground.
The funds will be distributed to 160 non-governmental organizations and UN agencies that provide humanitarian assistance. Some will be used to pay frontline workers like healthcare workers, but not through the Taliban administration.
According to Griffiths, approximately eight million children may miss out on an education because teachers have not been paid in full since August.
The goal of the aid package, according to UN Refugee Agency chief Filippo Grandi, is to stabilize the situation within Afghanistan, including for internally displaced people, preventing a new flood of migrants from fleeing across the country's borders.
"That movement of people will be difficult to manage, in the region and beyond because it will not stop at the region," he said. "If those efforts are not successful, we will have to ask for $10 billion next year, not $5 billion," he added.