Ramesh Rajasingham, Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, has said that at least four Afghans out of ten suffer from hunger each day.
The UN has called on international donors to provide $1.3 billion for humanitarian relief to Afghans in need.
In a virtual meeting with representatives of various countries and international organizations, the UN official described the situation in Afghanistan as "concerning" and said that the war and the COVID-19 pandemic have caused half of the population to be in need of humanitarian assistance.
“Forty years of war and displacement, mixed with climate shocks and now COVID-19, have left almost half of Afghanistan’s population needing emergency aid,” said Rajasingham, who moderated the briefing.
According to UN statistics, since 2012 over five million Afghans have been displaced from their areas because of war and violence, and the majority of those displaced are still living in tents.
The UN deputy humanitarian chief said that the number of people in need has doubled from 9.4 million at the start of 2020 to 18.4 million in 2021 – of a population of 40.4 million. Four in 10 people are now going hungry, which means that almost 17 million people are in crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity through March 2021. And almost half of all children will be acutely malnourished this year.
“Few other places in this world have seen suffering soar so quickly in recent times,” he said, noting that conflict and violence continue to kill civilians at an alarming rate, despite the intra-Afghan peace negotiations.
“Despite the increased health needs due to COVID-19, health facilities and workers continue to suffer harm from attacks, and acts of intimidation by parties to the conflict.
Targeted attacks on schools and educational facilities also demand a renewed commitment by all parties to the conflict to uphold international humanitarian law and adopt measures to safeguard learning spaces for the next generation. We have seen so much progress over the last few years, we simply cannot afford to have any reversal in that, especially in education for girls.”
Also speaking at the briefing were Mrs. Adela Raz, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the UN; Raouf Mazou, UN Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees; and Mr. Ramiz Alakbarov, the UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan.
“The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is deeply troubling,” said Adela Raz, Afghanistan’s permanent envoy to the UN.
“…Expressing concern over the escalating violence in the country, and hope that the ongoing peace talks will soon result in a comprehensive peace agreement,” said Raouf Mazou, UN Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees.
Afghanistan remains one of the most challenging countries for aid workers.
Based on the UN statistics, in 2020, 28 aid workers were killed, 53 were wounded and 110 others were kidnapped in the country.