The UN appeal for US$5 billion in aid for Afghanistan to avert a humanitarian catastrophe has got US$308 million from the US.
The US on Tuesday earmarked US$308 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. The US said that this was an additional contribution with which, the US’ total contribution to Afghanistan reaches about US$782. This tranche of aid also makes the US the first country to pledge assistance to the latest UN appeal for Afghanistan.
United Nations and its partner organisations launched an appeal on Tuesday, asking for more than $5 billion in aid for Afghanistan in the hope of shoring up collapsing basic services in the country wrecked by years of war. The UN has warned that a humanitarian catastrophe will befall Afghanistan if the world community does come to its aid.
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said, “A full-blown humanitarian catastrophe looms. My message is urgent: Don’t shut the door on the people of Afghanistan.”
Griffiths said that $4.4 billion was needed for the Afghanistan humanitarian response plan alone. It would go directly into the pockets of “nurses and health officials in the field” so that these services can continue, not as support for State structures (meaning the present-day de facto authorities).
Largest ever UN appeal for aid
This is the largest-ever single-country appeal in the history of the UN.
US$4.4 billion of the money appealed for by the UN will go towards meeting needs within Afghanistan. A further US$623 million will be used to provide support the millions of Afghans sheltering beyond the war-torn country’s borders.
The US money will be routed through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The money is meant to provide shelter, health care, winterization assistance, emergency food aid, water, sanitation, and hygiene services. White House conveyed that the money will reach Afghan people through independent humanitarian organizations.
Afghanistan’s economy is in a bad shape since the Taliban seized power in August as US-led forces were withdrawing from the country following their 20-year occupation.
USAID funding reaches people with a ‘From the American people’ tagline.
This aid is independent of another COVID-19 intervention in the form of 4.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Afghanistan.
The UN appeal document says that up to 23 million people, or 55 percent of the country’s population – are facing extreme levels of hunger. Nearly 9 million of them are at risk of famine as winter takes hold.
According to Griffiths, “This is a stop-gap, an absolutely essential stop-gap measure that we are putting in front of the international community today. Without this being funded, there won’t be a future, we need this to be done, otherwise there will be outflow, there will be suffering.”
Image: UNHCR/Andrew McConnell