UN calls for quick release of USD 1.2 billion aid to Afghanistan

UN calls for quick release of USD 1.2 billion aid to Afghanistan

NEW YORK: The United Nations has appealed to countries that pledged USD 1.2 billion in relief for Afghanistan to quickly release the funds to turn money into food, health care and protection for victims.

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for UN chief Antonio Guterres on Tuesday, said the pledges in humanitarian aid announced at a high-level conference in Geneva on Monday, include funding for the flash appeal for Afghanistan and regional response.
“We stressed that pledges now need to be disbursed quickly so that the UN and humanitarian partners, including national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), can move quickly to turn funds into food, health care and protection for Afghan children, women and men in need,” Dujarric said.

The spokesperson said the UN and its partners continue to deliver aid to millions of people in need in Afghanistan. Several relief missions made it from Mazar-i-Sharif by road to Maimana and from Kabul to Jalalabad.

A convoy with aid from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reached Nangarhar, the spokesperson said. “This is the second convoy of relief items that have entered Afghanistan through the Torkham Border Crossing since Aug. 15.”

Seasonal food assistance from World Food Programme (WFP) continues with one month’s worth of food for previously assessed vulnerable families, he said.

The spokesperson said that the WFP is also pre-positioning food and other stocks at strategic border points in Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in anticipation of high food needs and further disruptions to supply chains. A logistics hub is being set up in Termez, Uzbekistan.

Meanwhile, WFP also stated that the return of humanitarian flights to Kabul since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is a turning point in the crisis.

More than 90 per cent of families are struggling to find enough to eat, and with winter fast approaching, aid agencies have been “scrambling to meet massive needs before it is too late”, said WFP spokesperson, Tomson Phiri, who was speaking in Geneva.

The WFP-led Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) has completed three cargo flights since the reopening of the air link to Kabul on September 12, bringing in medical supplies on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO). (ANI)