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'Everything Is A Challenge:' UN Official Appeals For $850 Million For Afghanistan

UN humanitarian chief in Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov (file photo)

The UN humanitarian chief in Afghanistan has appealed for $850 million to help the war-torn country cope with the impact of the Taliban offensive and a litany of other crises.

Ramiz Alakbarov said on July 15 that some 18 million Afghans are in need and the UN plans to provide help for at least 15.7 million of them.

Afghanistan has a population of some 38 million people.

He said the UN's current appeal for Afghanistan was only 37 percent funded at $450 million and that the United States was the largest donor. He said the $850 million being sought was desperately needed.

Speaking to reporters at the UN in New York after a virtual briefing from Kabul, Alakbarov said that, beyond the need for money to recover from the Taliban offensive, Afghanistan needs funding to fight malnutrition, a severe drought, and the return of 627,000 Afghans this year, most of them deported from neighboring Iran.

Alakbarov said that in the current situation "everything is a challenge" and "COVID-19 hasn’t made it easier," with deaths from the coronavirus doubling in the last 2 1/2 months.

Alakbarov said the second drought in three years and the Taliban’s offensive have led 270,000 people to flee their homes toward urban areas and regional centers, where they need food, water, shelter, and sanitation.

The UN is also seeing intensive movements of people in areas where the Iranian and Pakistan borders are largely closed as Afghans try to leave the country using paths away from official crossings, he said.

Alakbarov expressed hope that Afghanistan’s neighbors will view the situation in terms of human rights and their responsibility to protect people from suffering and allow Afghan refugees into their countries.

With reporting by AP and Tolo News
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