The United States has allocated more than $36.7 million to help the people of Afghanistan respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and expedited $90 million in continued development assistance through the World Bank to support Afghanistan’s national health and education sectors and local government needs, the US embassy in Kabul said in a statement on Thursday.
“The entirety of this US funding comes at a critical moment when Afghanistan is dealing with the effects of COVID-19. We must all work quickly to prevent the further spread of COVID-19; attend to the sick; put people back to work; and protect vulnerable women and children, who can become victims of rising domestic violence in these kinds of situations,” said Ross Wilson, US charge d’affaires in Kabul.
The statement said this funding builds on resources previously announced by US Secretary of State Pompeo for COVID-19 response in Afghanistan.
More than $19.1 million of the fund will be spent on health and international disaster assistance to support the detection and treatment of COVID-19, as well as protection and health support for internally displaced persons; nearly $3.1 million in migrant and refugee assistance for Afghan returnees; $500,000 to procure COVID-19 prevention and control supplies for correctional facilities; and $14 million in existing economic support funds to support the Afghan government’s nationwide response to COVID-19, according to the statement.
The $90 million fund will be available from the World Bank for continued health and education services during the pandemic; to enable citizen-led Community Development Councils to meet sanitation and infrastructure needs; and to support the health sector in maintaining emergency services and strengthening disease surveillance, testing, and treatment, the statement said.
So far, the Ministry of Public Health has reported 35,615 cases of COVID-19 in the country. It has also reported 1,186 deaths and 23,739 recoveries countrywide based on the data collected by the ministry. But numbers are believed to be much higher as there is no lockdown and many businesses have reopened countrywide.