Guterres to Convene High-level Meet on Afghan Humanitarian Situation

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People are seen at a displaced person camp in Mazar-i-Sharif, capital of northern Balkh province, Afghanistan, on July 22, 2021. — Xinhua/IANS

According to the latest UN figures, almost half of Afghanistan’s population, or 18 million people, need humanitarian assistance in order to survive.

UNITED NATIONS — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will convene a high-level ministerial conference on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan on September 13 in Geneva, his spokesman said.

The conference will seek a swift scale-up in funding so that the life-saving humanitarian operation can continue, and appeal for full and unimpeded humanitarian access to make sure Afghans continue to get the essential services they need, Xinhua news agency quoted spokesman Stephane Dujarric, as saying in a statement.

Afghanistan faces a looming humanitarian catastrophe amid the Taliban takeover.

According to the latest UN figures, almost half of Afghanistan’s population, or 18 million people, need humanitarian assistance in order to survive.

One in three Afghans does not know where their next meal will come from, while more than half of all children under five are expected to become acutely malnourished in the next year.

Afghans make up one of the largest refugee populations worldwide, according to the UNHCR.

Dujarric said the UN remains committed to delivering humanitarian assistance to millions of people in need, while development gains must also be protected to link the humanitarian response with the medium- and long-term stability of Afghanistan.

The rights, safety and well-being of women and girls are an essential part of this link, he added.

It is crucial for the international community to take swift action to ensure that humanitarian funding for the people of Afghanistan is scaled up, while remaining flexible and responsive to escalating needs, said the concept note of the high-level event.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) will release a flash appeal on September 7 covering the most pressing humanitarian needs and funding requirements for the next four months.

Meanwhile, the UN 2021 humanitarian response plan for Afghanistan is only 40 per cent funded, leaving a deficit of $766 million, according to the OCHA. — IANS

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