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UN raises funds for Afghanistan “lifeline” as famine threatens

The United Nations – The United Nations held an emergency financial appeal meeting in Geneva on Monday to raise funds for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, whose people “need a lifeline,” said UN Secretary General António Guterres.

“After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they face perhaps their most perilous hour,” said Guterres.

After the meeting, Guterres said more than $ 1 billion in aid pledges for Afghanistan had been made, much of which will go towards Monday’s fundraising target of $ 600 million.

The picture drawn up by the head of the UN is bleak: “One in three Afghans does not know where their next meal will come from. The poverty rate is skyrocketing – and basic public services are on the verge of collapse. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes. ”

In addition, he warned, “Afghanistan faces a Severe drought – the second to strike the country in four years. A lot of people could run out of food by the end of this month, just as winter approaches. “

After the recent Taliban takeover abruptly ended billions of dollars in foreign aid, the new government announced an all-male leadership team and new rules for educating women, further isolating themselves from the West, the foreign correspondent reported CBS News Principal Charlie D’Agata from Islamabad, Pakistan.

The displacement of Afghans fleeing the Taliban and deteriorating economic conditions in the country are a major concern, UN officials from several agencies said on Monday. The UN refugee chief, Filippo Grande, arrived in Kabul to assess the “situation of 3.5 million displaced Afghans”.

The stern warnings come as 20 UN agencies hope to stay and continue their humanitarian work in Afghanistan. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths visited Kabul last week to meet with Taliban leaders about their role.

“It reinforced our commitment to provide impartial and independent humanitarian assistance and protection to millions of people in need,” said Guterres.

These measures should include emergency aid to help save Afghanistan’s wheat crop, to help prevent famine amid drought, United Nations Food Organization director-general said. and agriculture, QU Dongyu, at the UN meeting on Monday.

President Biden’s ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, announced humanitarian aid of US $ 64 million, saying “the situation is dire.”

Thomas-Greenfield cited the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF, whose executive director Henrietta Fore predicted that one million children under 5 could soon face acute malnutrition. severe.

“A million! A preventable starving child is too much. A million is unthinkable,” said Thomas-Greenfield, adding that the new funding means the United States has provided $ 330 million in aid to Afghans. during this exercise.

She called on the international community to unite to both support aid efforts and hold the Taliban to account, acknowledging: “We have all heard reports that the Taliban is hindering and interfering in aid.

But, she said, the world must “make a commitment to support aid workers in their very important work, and to step up humanitarian action in Afghanistan so that we can save the lives of Afghans in need.”