A senior UN official has warned that food stocks in Afghanistan could run out as soon as this month and urged the international community to step up support for the war-ravaged country.
Ramiz Alakbarov, Deputy Special Representative and Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan, stressed that while the UN remains “determined to deliver”, more funding is needed to reach millions who depend on aid to survive.
He reported that more than half of all under-fives are suffering from extreme malnutrition, and more than one-third of citizens are not getting enough to eat, UN News reported.
“It is extremely important that we prevent Afghanistan from descending into a further humanitarian catastrophe by taking the necessary steps to provide essential items which this country needs right now. And that is to support food, health and protection services, and non-food items, to those who are in extreme need,” said Alakbarov, speaking from the capital, Kabul.
Raising awareness about the impending crisis, Alakbarov said the World Food Programme (WFP) could run out of stocks by the end of September.
“For us to keep the current demand, we need at least USD 200 million only for the food sector, to be able to provide food to the most vulnerable,” he added. “And those most vulnerable are children.” The UN is set to issue a flash appeal for Afghanistan in the coming days.
Alakbarov said although the Taliban have provided “every assurances”, humanitarian access varies from province to province due to several issues, including the degree to which women are being allowed to keep working.
The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan may turn into a catastrophe since the Taliban have no access to the funds provided to the country by the international community, a senior official at the European External Action Service (EEAS) said on Wednesday.
“The humanitarian situation has already been very bad in Afghanistan before all these events. It risks turning catastrophic soon … Now access to financial means, the funds which the international community made available, which covered 77% of the budget of the Afghan government, civilian budget, military budget 100%, are now not available,” Gunnar Wiegand, the EEAS managing director for Asia and the Pacific, told the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee meeting on Afghanistan, Sputnik reported.
Last month, the Taliban captured Kabul after mounting a swift offensive in a matter of few weeks.