The United Nations and partner non-government organizations (NGOs) on Tuesday in Geneva launched a joint response plan aimed to deliver vital humanitarian relief to 22 million people in Afghanistan and to support 5.7 million displaced Afghans and local communities in five neighboring countries.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said that the humanitarian and refugee response plans together will require over US$5 billion in international funding in 2022.
According to OCHA, people in Afghanistan face one of the world’s "most rapidly growing humanitarian crises. Half of the population face acute hunger, over 9 million people are displaced, millions of children are out of school, the fundamental rights of women and girls are under attack, farmers and herders are struggling amid the worst drought in decades, and the economy is in free fall."
Without support, tens of thousands of children are at risk of dying from malnutrition as basic health services have collapsed, OCHA said.
OCHA said in a statement that conflict has subsided, "but violence, fear and deprivation continue to drive Afghans to seek safety and asylum across borders, particularly in Iran and Pakistan."
More than 2.2 million registered refugees and a further 4 million Afghans with different statuses are hosted in the neighboring countries, OCHA said, adding: "This has stretched the capacity of the communities hosting them, and they also need support."
Meanwhile, The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, said that the world should not shut the door on the people of Afghanistan.
“Events in Afghanistan over the past year have unfolded with dizzying speed and with profound consequences for the Afghan people. The world is perplexed and looking for the right way to react. Meanwhile, a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe looms. “My message is urgent: don’t shut the door on the people of Afghanistan,” he said.
"Humanitarian partners are on the ground, and they are delivering, despite the challenges. Help us scale up and stave off wide-spread hunger, disease, malnutrition and ultimately death by supporting the humanitarian plans we are launching today,” Griffiths said.
Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that the world must prevent catastrophe in Afghanistan.
“The international community must do everything it can to prevent a catastrophe in Afghanistan,” said Mr Grandi.
In the meantime, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that the Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan requires $4.44 billion, the largest humanitarian appeal ever launched. If funded, aid organizations can ramp up the delivery of life-saving food and agriculture support, health services, treatment for malnutrition, emergency shelter, access to water and sanitation, protection and emergency education.
According to OCHA, the Afghanistan Situation Regional Refugee Response Plan requires $623 million in funding for 40 organizations working in protection, health and nutrition, food security, shelter and nonfood items, water and sanitation, livelihoods and resilience, education, and logistics and telecoms.
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