Ramiz Alakbarov, Deputy Special Representative and Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan, stressed that although the UN remains “determined to deliver”, more resources are needed to reach millions who depend on aid for survival.
He reported that more than half of all people under the age of five suffer from extreme malnutrition, and more than a third of citizens do not get enough to eat.
“It is extremely important that we prevent Afghanistan from falling into a further humanitarian catastrophe by taking the necessary steps to deliver essential things that this country needs right now. And that is to support food, health and protection services and non-food for those in extreme need, “said Mr Alakbarov, speaking from the capital Kabul.
In recent days, the UN has flown medical supplies into Mazar-i-Sharif airport in northern Afghanistan, while about 600 tonnes of food was delivered by trucks coming across the border from Pakistan.
© WFP / Arete / Andrew Quilty
Children most vulnerable
UN teams have also given communities access to water and sanitation as well as protection services, including to about 800 children at Kabul airport.
However, Alakbarov said the World Food Program (WFP) could run out of stocks by the end of September.
“In order for us to maintain current demand, we only need at least $ 200 million for the food sector to be able to supply food to the most vulnerable,” he added. “And the most vulnerable are children.”
The UN will issue a swift appeal to Afghanistan in the coming days.
Ensuring humanitarian access
While two “major” UN member states have signaled their financial support, this will still not be enough, he said, adding “we need a really broad participation of the international community in these resource mobilization efforts.”
Even before the current upheaval, about 18 million people, or half the population, relied on emergency aid to meet their basic needs. A $ 1.3 billion funding request from earlier this year has so far brought in less than $ 400 million.
Meanwhile, humanitarian partners have access to most of the country and work in 394 out of the 403 districts.
IOM / Mohammed Muse
Gender equality and ‘test’
Sir. Alakbarov said that although the Taliban has provided “all assurances”, humanitarian access varies from province to province due to several issues, including the degree to which women are allowed to continue working.
In some places, Taliban provincial authorities have allowed women humanitarian workers to return to their jobs in health and education or to participate in needs assessments. In others, “we have not received that opportunity,” he said.
“We continue to strongly advocate for the Taliban, first and foremost for respect for the principles of equality and participation, so that women can return to work and provide the necessary assistance. And that we get the necessary facilitation to carry out this work. . “
Mr Alakbarov stressed that staff security is a top priority, especially for female staff, most of whom are Afghan nationals.
“The issue of equality and women is also a great test for the Taliban and for the way the international community will react and interact,” he said. “And of course it’s at the center of the UN’s attention.”