UN seeks to raise $600 million to avoid Afghan humanitarian crisis

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Sep 13, 2021, 08:25 AM IST


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UN Secretary General Antoniono Guterres has recently said that the organisation was not even able to pay salaries of its workers

The United Nations is convening an aid conference in Geneva in order to raise more than USD 600 million in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan. It has warned of a humanitarian crisis after the Taliban takeover.

More than half the population, or 18 million people were dependent on aid even before Taliban's seizure of Kabul last month. The number is likely to increase due to shortage of cash and food as well as drought, UN officials warned.

Abrupt end in foreign donations following collapse of Ashraf Ghani-led government has put pressure on UN programmes.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the organisation was struggling financially.

"At the present moment the U.N. is not even able to pay its salaries to its own workers," he told reporters on Friday.

The Geneva conference, due to begin on Monday afternoon, will be attended by top U.N. officials including Guterres, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer, as well as dozens of government representatives including German foreign minister Heiko Maas.

About a third of the $606 million being sought would be used by the U.N. World Food Programme which found that 93% of the 1,600 Afghans it surveyed in August and September were not consuming sufficient foods, mostly because they could not get access to cash to pay for it.

"It's now a race against time and the snow to deliver life-saving assistance to the Afghan people who need it most," said WFP deputy regional director Anthea Webb. "We are quite literally begging and borrowing to avoid food stocks running out."

(With inputs from agencies)