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UN seeks $ 5 billion to stabilize Afghanistan but still suffers

UN launches what it calls record $ 5 billion appeal to help Afghanistan and neighboring countries

GENEVA – The United Nations on Tuesday launched what it called a record $ 5 billion appeal to help Afghanistan and its neighboring countries, warning that half the country faces acute famine, millions of people children are out of school and farmers battle drought – even as Afghanistan stabilizes after decades of conflict after the Taliban took power in August.

The appeal by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and refugee agency UNHCR reflects the global body’s attempt to help besieged civilians inside a country now led by a group activist that many Western donor countries fought – and still oppose. The US-led international coalition left Afghanistan in chaotic scenes as the Taliban invaded the country and returned to power over the summer.

OCHA has warned of the threat of a “catastrophe” in Afghanistan and said 23 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, more than half of the country’s population. Up to one million children under 5 will face severe and acute malnutrition if they do not receive assistance, he said.

“We need to provide food to the families where they live. We need to provide seeds to farmers where they are plowing, ”said Martin Griffiths, Director of OCHA. “We need to provide health services to clinics across the country, and we need protective services for everyone who comes home.”

“This is the biggest appeal ever to a single country for humanitarian aid, and it is three times the amount needed and actually collected in 2021,” he said.

The joint appeal calls for $ 4.4 billion for OCHA and its partners, plus an additional $ 623 million for the refugee agency to help more than 6 million Afghans who have fled abroad, or about 15 percent of the total population of Afghanistan. Others continue to cross the border, UNHCR said, noting that around 175,000 people have returned to the country since the Taliban took control.

“The reality is that people are coming back because the situation is safer,” said Filippo Grandi, who heads UNCHR. “The conflict between the Taliban and the previous government is over. And that has opened up a space of safety, which I think we must take advantage of. But to do that, we need those resources that are part of this call. “

Grandi went on to focus on aid effectiveness and said that it “helps create a space for dialogue with the Taliban that is invaluable” on issues that matter to many donors – such as human rights. women, girls’ education and minority rights, which are discussed every day with the new leaders of the country.

“It is this space that we must preserve, because for the moment, the political sphere is a little behind,” he said.

The UN has said time and again that Afghans face one of the world’s fastest growing humanitarian crises, with an economy “in free fall” and the rights of women and girls “under attack.” The financing, if reached, would amount to about a quarter of the country’s total economic output in 2020, or more than $ 20 billion, according to the World Bank.

ABC News

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