The United Nations announced Tuesday that it would need $ 5 billion in aid to Afghanistan in 2022 to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and provide a future for the devastated country after 40 years of suffering.
In its largest single country appeal to date, the UN said that it needs $ 4.4 billion within Afghanistan, while another $ 623 million is needed to aid the millions of Afghans, who seek refuge outside of their borders.
The United Nations said that 22 million people in Afghanistan and another 5.7 million displaced Afghans in five neighboring countries needed vital assistance this year.
“A full-blown humanitarian catastrophe looms. My message is urgent: Do not close the door to the people in Afghanistan, ”said UN aid chief Martin Griffiths.
“Help us grow and fight widespread hunger, disease, malnutrition and ultimately death.”
Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in mid-August, the country has plunged into financial chaos, with inflation and unemployment rising.
Washington has frozen billions in the country’s fortunes while aid shipments have been severely disrupted.
Afghanistan also suffered the worst drought in decades in 2021.
Without the aid package, “there will be no future,” Griffiths told reporters in Geneva.
“40 years of uncertainty”
The Taliban authorities said the cry for help for the suffering Afghans was “very necessary”.
“But at the same time I would like to say that all this aid approved in the past must be delivered during this harsh winter,” the senior Taliban leader and the group’s designated UN representative, Suhail Shaheen, told AFP.
He said the inflow of funds would also help keep the now ailing banking system working, adding that any cash that enters the country will help contain inflation.
“The banks are not working properly, so there is a need to control inflation, and that can be controlled when dollars … hard currencies come into Afghanistan,” Shaheen said.
Griffiths said the appeal, if funded, would help aid agencies expedite food and agriculture delivery, health services, malnutrition treatment, emergency shelter, access to water and sanitation, protection and education.
An estimated 4.7 million people will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2022, including 1.1 million children with severe acute malnutrition.
Griffiths said that without humanitarian aid, hardship, death, hunger and more mass displacement would ensue, “depriving the people of Afghanistan of hope that their land will be their home and support now and in the near future”.
If, however, international donors get in touch, “we will see an opportunity for an Afghanistan that will finally bear the fruits of a kind of security”.
Fear of implosion
Griffiths said the security situation for humanitarian organizations in Afghanistan is likely to be better than it has been in many years. The staff in the ministries in Kabul remained largely the same as before the Taliban takeover.
He said the UN Security Council’s move in December to provide humanitarian aid to desperate Afghans without violating international sanctions to isolate the Taliban had made the working environment much more pleasant for donors and humanitarian workers on the ground.
The money goes to 160 NGOs and UN organizations that provide aid. Some are used to pay frontline workers like health workers – but not through the Taliban administration.
Around eight million children could miss their education because teachers have largely not been paid since August, Griffiths said.
UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi said the aim of the aid package was to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan, including for internally displaced persons, and thus prevent a further flow of refugees across the country’s borders.
“This movement of people will be difficult to manage in the region and beyond because it will not stop at the region,” he said. “If these efforts are unsuccessful, we must ask for $ 10 billion next year, not $ 5 billion.