U.N. seeks $600 million to avert Afghanistan humanitarian crisis

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The United Nations is seeking to raise more than $600 million for Afghanistan, warning of a humanitarian crisis there following the Taliban takeover.

According to U.N officials, even before the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul last month, half the population or 18 million people was dependent on aid. That figure looks set to increase due to drought and shortages of cash and food.

An abrupt end to billions of dollars in foreign donations following the collapse of Afghanistan’s Western-backed government and the ensuing victory of the Taliban has heaped more pressure on U.N. programmes.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said, his organisation is struggling financially, “At the present moment the UN is not even able to pay its salaries to its own workers.”

About a third of the U.S $606 million being sought would be used by the UN 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.

WFP deputy regional director, Ms Anthea Webb said, “It’s now a race against time and the snow to deliver life-saving assistance to the Afghan people who need it most.

“We are quite literally begging and borrowing to avoid food stocks running out.”

The World Health Organization, another UN agency that is part of the appeal, is seeking to shore up hundreds of health facilities at risk of closure after donors backed out.

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Kamila/Reuters

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