Speaking in Geneva, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin griffiths said $ 4.4 billion was needed for the humanitarian response plan in Afghanistan alone, “to be paid directly” to health workers and others, not to de facto authorities.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Philippe Grandi requested $ 623 million, to support refugees and host communities in five neighboring countries, for the regional refugee response plan in Afghanistan.
“Today we are launching an appeal for $ 4.4 billion for Afghanistan itself for 2022,” Griffiths said. “This is the biggest ever appeal for a single country for humanitarian aid and it’s three times the amount needed, and it actually raised money in 2021.”
Needs could double
The scale of the needs is already enormous, the two UN officials stressed, warning that if insufficient measures are taken now to support Afghan and regional response plans, “next year we will ask for $ 10 billion. “.
Mr. Griffiths added: “This is a stopgap, an absolutely essential stopgap measure that we are putting before the international community today. Without this being funded, there will be no future, it must be done, otherwise there will be exits, there will be suffering.
Dismissing questions that the funding would be used to support the Taliban’s grip on de facto government, Griffiths insisted it would go directly into the pockets of “nurses and health officials on the ground” so that these services can continue, not as support for state structures.
UN aid agencies describe the plight of Afghanistan as one of the fastest growing humanitarian crises in the world.
According to the UN Humanitarian Coordination Office OCHA, half the population is now facing acute famine, more than nine million people have been displaced and millions of children are out of school.
© UNHCR / Andrew McConnell
The fate of young people
When asked to describe what could happen if sufficient support was not provided, the UN emergency relief chief responded that he was particularly concerned about the million children currently facing severe acute malnutrition. “A million children – the numbers are so hard to grasp when they are this size – but a million children at risk of this type of malnutrition if these things don’t happen, it’s shocking. “
But there is little that aid agencies and their partners who will receive the requested funds directly, said Griffiths, before reiterating his support for the UN on December 22. security Council resolution that allowed aid to reach the Afghans, while preventing funds from falling into the hands of the Taliban.
“Aid agencies inside Afghanistan can only function if there is money in the economy that can be used to pay civil servants, salaries, costs, fuel and so on. “, did he declare. “So liquidity in its first phase is a humanitarian issue, it’s not just a bigger economic issue. “
Avoid sickness, hunger
He added: “My message is urgent: do not close the door on the Afghan people. Humanitarian partners are on the ground and they are up to the task, despite the challenges. Help us scale up and avert widespread hunger, disease, malnutrition and ultimately death by supporting the humanitarian plans we launch today. “
Emphasizing the need to avoid a wider regional crisis emanating from Afghanistan, UNHCR Chief Grandi insisted that what was needed most was “to stabilize the situation inside Afghanistan, including that of the internally displaced persons who are internally displaced. . Also, to avoid a larger refugee crisis, a larger external displacement crisis. “
Nonetheless, Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors have sheltered vulnerable Afghans for decades, said Grandi, as he called for $ 623 million in funding for 40 organizations working in the areas of protection, health and nutrition, food security, shelter and non-food items, water and sanitation, livelihoods and resilience, education, logistics and telecommunications.
© UNHCR / Andrew McConnell
Decades of shelter
No one should forget “that there is a regional dimension to this crisis, represented by Afghan refugees but also Afghans with many other ‘stay’ arrangements in neighboring countries in particular,” Grandi said, ” especially in Pakistan and Iran, which have been hosting Afghans for over 40 years, but also Central Asian states.
Since the Taliban took power in August, the rights of women and girls have continued to be under attack, OCHA noted in a statement, “as farmers and ranchers struggle amid the worst drought in decades and the economy is in free fall.”
Reminder of rights
On the issue of fundamental rights protection, Griffiths noted that UN humanitarians continue to have “conversations” with de facto Afghan authorities at national and subnational levels, on issues such as aid. and access to education for all.
Echoing this message, UN refugee chief Grandi noted that aid workers on the ground are well aware of the importance of stressing the need to protect the rights of minorities and other vulnerable Afghans.
“Our colleagues are there every day, and that’s what they talk about every day; they certainly talk about access, childbirth and needs, but they also talk about women at work, women in school – girls in school – minority rights, but it is this space that we must preserve.