World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Afghanistan Crisis Worsening As Temperatures Drop, Warns UNHCR

The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is worsening and funding for emergency aid is urgently needed to help 20 million people there, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Tuesday.

A month since the UN-led $606 million appeal for solidarity for the people of Afghanistan, the UN refugee agency said that only 35 per cent of the funds it needed to fund operations for the next two months had been received.

The development follows a call from UN chief António Guterres on Monday to the international community to inject cash into Afghanistan’s crumbling economy to prevent its collapse, for which “not only they but all the world will pay a heavy price”.

The Secretary-General’s comments came ahead of Tuesday’s G20 meeting of leading industrialized nations, whose leaders were due to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban ousted the Government on 15 August.

New aid hub

Speaking from Kabul, UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch said that the agency was trying to establish a logistics hub just outside Afghanistan’s border to distribute aid to the country’s many hundreds of thousands of internally displaced.

Mr. Baloch explained that Afghanistan’s economy was at “a breaking point”, and that this collapse had to be avoided at all costs, particularly as temperatures were now plunging at night with the approach of winter:

“So, resources are really needed to reach more and more Afghans, I mean, when you talk about half of the population relying on humanitarian assistance; 20 million, that number is rising day by day,” he said. “We need those resources as immediately as possible.”


The UNHCR spokesperson said that the agency planned to conduct three airlifts to scale up supplies to Afghanistan in the coming period.

Consignments will be airlifted to Termez, Uzbekistan, and subsequently trucked through the Hairatan border point into Mazar-i-Sharif. The airlifts will deliver urgently needed humanitarian relief items. The first flight is expected to arrive mid-October.”

One in two in need

At the beginning of 2021, 18 million people in Afghanistan needed humanitarian assistance, half of the country’s population.

UN aid officials insist that “the window to assist is narrow”, as only five per cent of households have enough to eat every day, and more than half of all children under-five are expected to become acutely malnourished in the next year.

Severe drought and disruptions to farming have increased the risk of food insecurity as the winter approaches, said the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Action must be taken

At the G20 Extraordinary Meeting on Afghanistan which took place on Tuesday, according to his Spokesperson briefing reporters in New York, the Secretary-General António Guterres, stressed there are three areas for essential action: ensuring a lifeline of help to the Afghan people, avoiding a total meltdown of the country’s economy and a "constant commitment" to move things in the right direction, for the Afghan people.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said that it has established four static emergency clinics along border areas of Afghanistan to provide reproductive health and protection services to returnees, internally displaced people, as well as host communities, and the agency is also supporting a basic health clinic for internally displaced people in Karokh District of Herat.

For its part, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned that there is no money to pay wages or buy food, medicine or clean water. WFP said that one million children’s lives are in the balance as deaths from malnutrition loom. The agency stresses that these deaths can be prevented, if further funds are freed up for Afghanistan now. The international flash appeal is now 38 per cent funding, said the UN Spokesperson.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Euro-Med Monitor: Sudan Military Coup Shatters Democratic Path, Threatens With Authoritarian Rule Return
The Sudanese army's seizure of power in the country diminishes the hard-won human rights and civil gains achieved after the December 2018 protests, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said today in a statement...More>>

Weather: Pacific Likely To Experience Double Dip La Niña Episode

The Pacific is likely to experience a rare occurrence of what is called a double dip La Niña in the coming months, Climate models and predictions tools used by Pacific National Meteorological and Hydrological services (NMHSs) show...

CNS: Will India's 1 Billion Vaccination-dose-milestone Be Catalytic For Vaccinating All?

On 21 October 2021, India crossed its milestone of administering over 1 billion (100 crores) doses within 278 days since it began the vaccination rollout (on 16th January 2021)... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Pacific: Young Climate Leaders Call For Urgent Climate Action Ahead Of COP26

Eight Pacific Young Climate Leaders shared their experiences of climate resilience and activism in an inaugural dialogue with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Mr Henry Puna on 21 October 2021... More>>

UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>

COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>