Afghan govt, UN appeal for $405m in humanitarian aid
UN humanitarian coordinator Mark Bowden, launching the appeal at a joint press conference with Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, said almost 8,000 civilians had been killed in the war this year, with more than 100,000 being forced from their homes.
He said as the conflict expanded in the coming year, more help would be needed. Around 1.2 million children in Afghanistan are acutely malnourished, half a million of them younger than five years old.
Half a million children die each year of preventable disease, and already 4,000 families are facing the onset of winter without adequate housing.
The aid will be used to provide 3.7 million families affected by the conflict and natural disasters with food, medical care, clean drinking water with greater focus on remote areas.
Abdullah said covering humanitarian needs of Afghan families was the government’s top priority, adding that 1.3 million people benefited from humanitarian aid this solar year.
Of the beneficiaries, he said, 390,000 individuals were those affected by insecurity and natural disasters this year, when 140,000 malnourished children were provided food.
He said the subject on one hand indicated the gravity of humanitarian situation in Afghanistan but on the other level of cooperation among the Afghan government, the international community and donor agencies.
Vowing transparency and accountability in aid distribution, Abdullah said the aid was demanded for assisting internally displaced families and those migrating from Pakistan to Afghanistan due to insecurity.
He hoped the appeal for $405 million would be met and the amount given to the authorities concerned in order to cover humanitarian needs.
Bowden urged donor countries to continue assisting Afghanistan in area of humanitarian needs and said hopes for international aid to Afghanistan had increased following the formation of the unity government in Kabul.
He said some donor countries had pledged contributions to the $405 million appeal, but said insecurity remained the main challenge for humanitarian workers to reach out to needy families.
He said humanitarian aid workers faced threats as the ongoing year witnessed 174 attacks on workers, killing 36 of them.
He urged the Afghan government to ensure aid workers were protected from being targeted in violent attacks.
UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) country-director for Afghanistan, Chris Austin welcomed the appeal and assured his country’s part in the aid’s provision.
He said 25 percent Afghans needed humanitarian assistance and a clear and transparent plan could help pave the ground for judicious distribution of the aid.
Abdullah said insecurity in Afghanistan was a bitter reality and faced by all, saying the Afghan government was duty-bound to provide security in areas deemed in dire need of humanitarian aid.
The CEO said it was a religious and moral duty of Taliban insurgents to pave the ground for humanitarian aid distribution to needy families in areas under their control.
Last year, the UN appealed for $406 million in Afghanistan, but received $237 million.
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